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Annex III : Summaries of presentations by members of the assessment panels and technical options committees

I. Medical Technical Options Committee

1. Ms. Helen Tope, co-chair of the Medical Technical Options Committee, presented the Committee’s addendum report on its review of additional information provided by China for its 2013 essential use-nomination of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) for metered-dose inhalers. Following bilateral discussions during the thirty-second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group, China had provided additional information supporting its nomination regarding CFC metered-dose inhalers containing traditional Chinese medicines as active ingredients. Ms. Tope stated that while traditional Chinese medicine had its own rationale not subjectable to the same scientific discipline as modern medicine, evidence had not been provided that demonstrated the improved efficacy of CFC metered‑dose inhalers containing traditional Chinese medicines as compared with other, CFC-free forms of traditional Chinese medicines for asthma. She concluded that, owing to the availability of alternatives, the Medical Technical Options Committee did not consider CFCs for that use to be essential under decision IV/25 and that it was unable to recommend the CFCs nominated for those products. She suggested that for 2013, China might wish to consider allocating CFCs for those products from within its authorized quantity to allow time for patient transition.

II. Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee

2. Mr. Ian Porter, speaking on behalf of the three other Co‑Chairs of the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee (Mr. Mohamed Besri, Ms. Michelle Marcotte and Ms. Marta Pizano), provided a summary of the final assessment of the critical use nominations in the 2012 round as set out in the final report of the Technical and Economic Assessment Panel of October 2012.

3. The number of nominations submitted by non-Article 5 parties had continued to decline, from a peak of 143 in 2003 to 8 in 2012. The amount of methyl bromide nominated and exempted had also continued to fall, from a peak of 16,050 tonnes in 2005 to 454 tonnes recommended for 2014. Only three non-Article 5 parties - Australia, Canada and the United States of America - were continuing to apply for critical-use nominations. Japan had ceased applying for nominations in the present round.

4. Regarding the available methyl bromide stocks, he said that Canada, Japan and the United States had reported, respectively, 0.6 tonnes, 9.7 tonnes and 1,249 tonnes. He explained that the Committee’s critical-use recommendations did not take stocks into account. He noted that stocks reported by the United Sates were greater than the annual critical-use nominations. Table 1.3 of the final report of the Technical and Economic Assessment Panel showed the amount of stocks used and authorized by parties in 2011.

5. He then presented an overview of nominations received for pre‑plant soil use of methyl bromide in 2014. Following the thirty-second meeting of the Open-ended Working Group, three parties had requested reassessments of their individual critical-use nominations. Consensus had not been achieved on one nomination.

6. Of the 450.088 tonnes requested, 421.474 tonnes was recommended for nominations from three parties (Australia, Canada and the United States).

7. With regard to Australian strawberry runners, the Committee considered that the transition to substrates had been successful to date in many countries. After a reassessment of further information provided by the party, a reduction of 10 per cent was still considered possible for the uptake of soilless production in early-generation nursery runners.

8. With regard to Canadian strawberry runners, the Committee also recommended soilless production as being technically feasible for 10 per cent of the nomination. Information regarding differences in the physiological performance of plants and the lack of cost-effectiveness of soilless systems were identified by the Committee as potential issues of concern for strawberry runner systems moving to soilless production.

9. With regard to United States strawberry fruit, following the thirty-second meeting of the Open-ended Workng Group, the party had requested full reinstatement on the basis of the withdrawal of registration of methyl iodide and the unavailability of all other chemicals owing to a range of regulations. The majority (all but one member) agreed that 45.9 tonnes should be reinstated, as methyl iodide was now unavailable, while maintaining that a reduction for the adoption of such alternatives as barrier films (totally impermeable films) would allow for a reduction in dosage rates, which, in turn, would allow for greater use alternatives, presently restricted by regulations.

10. He explained that one member had expressed a minority view that an amount of no more than 381.310 tonnes should be granted on the United States strawberry fruit nomination (i.e., 8.3 tonnes less than the majority). The minority view was that alternatives were available for a greater proportion (at least 470 ha) of the nomination than that considered by the majority (421 ha) and that too much methyl bromide had been recommended for critical uses than was justifiable under decision IX/6.

11. Key issues were the fact that most remaining critical-use nominations did not use emission control with barrier films as required by decision IX/6 and the withdrawal of methyl iodide worldwide (except in Japan) had put pressure of finding new chemical alternatives, in particular with regard to nursery issues.

12. Ms. Marcotte, Co-Chair of the Committee, presented the final assessment results of the evaluation of critical-use nominations for post‑harvest uses of methyl bromide. There had been five such nominations in 2012; two for mills and food processing structures in Canada and the United States, and three for commodities in Australia and the United States. Japan had completed its adoption of alternatives for the treatment of fresh chestnuts and had not sent a critical-use nomination in 2012.

13. Australia has indicated that 2012 would be the final year for the submission of its rice critical‑use nomination, as its rice processors were completing the process of adopting alternatives. Canada had indicated that if its mills continued to need methyl bromide after 2014, they would apply individually, not as an industry sector.

14. She then presented charts showing the downward trend of critical-use nominations and critical‑use exemptions for each of the remaining controlled uses; in addition, a summary of the party’s reasons for the application and of the Committee’s review and recommendation of the critical‑use nomination was given.

15. With regard to Australian rice, the Committee recommended the full nomination, which was 50 per cent of the amount granted by the parties for 2013. The Committee advised the party on steps to achieve success with phosphine fumigation, including improved temperature control.

16. With regard to Canadian flour mills, the Committee recommended the full amount, which was a 35per cent decrease in the amount granted by the parties for 2013. The Committee noted that sulfuryl fluoride was still not approved for food contact and that pests in mills were unacceptable.

17. With regard to United States mills and food processors, the Committee recommended the full nomination, which was a 10 per cent decrease in the amount granted by the parties for 2013. The recommendation was disaggregated as follows: rice milling, 2.220 t; pet food facilities, 4.199 t; and mills, 16.38 t. In view of the slowing pace of the adoption of alternatives, the Committee requested an updated phase-out plan.

18. With regard to United States dried fruits and nuts, the Committee’s interim recommendation was a 34 per cent decrease taken from the dried fruit sector of that critical-use nomination; the party had originally nominated a 10 per cent decrease over the amount nominated for 2013. Following the party’s request to re‑evaluate and the submission of further information, the Committee had been able to recommend the full amount. The Committee had asked for an updated phase-out plan.

19. With regard to United States dry-cure pork, the Committee had been unable to make an assessment in its interim report pending the receipt of further information. The party had conducted a survey of methyl bromide use in the sector and had submitted it, together with additional information, to the Committee. The critical-use nomination was then re-reviewed. The Committee made the following comments: while there were no effective and registered alternatives to methyl bromide, it was concerned that the variability of the frequency of fumigation between facilities was not reflective of an appropriate use of methyl bromide. The Committee recommended that those facilities having the highest number of fumigations should reduce by one fumigation per year, plus a 10 per cent contingency amount. A spreadsheet reflecting the recommendation on a facility basis was provided in the text box. The resulting recommendation was a 34 per cent decrease in the amount nominated.

20. Ms. Marta Pizano, co-chair of the Committee, presented changes made to the handbook of critical use nominations. She said the seventh draft version had been revised by the Committee in time for the submission of the remaining critical-use nominations by non-Article 5 parties and by Article 5 parties seeking methyl bromide use after 2015. Selected sections had been moved within the document to facilitate information flow and simplify the critical-use nomination process; the section relating to the code of conduct removed, as the Committee did not consider that it belonged in the document; and the nomination forms updated so that only one form was proposed for both new and continuing nominations, for both soils and structures and commodities.

21. She explained that requests included in the handbook for information that was rarely or never supplied by the parties had been removed from the structures and commodities sections, such as potential market penetration of newly deployed alternatives and alternatives that may be used in the future to bring forward the estimated time when methyl bromide consumption could be reduced or eliminated; and that section 14 of the structures and commodities form on “use/ emission minimization measures” had been simplified.

22. Ms. Pizano then highlighted the fact that standard assumptions used to evaluate critical-use nominations had not been changed, although their position within the document had, and that economic indicators had been clarified to reflect standard agricultural economic practice and accommodate differences between soils and structures and commodities. She said that the Committee had suggested updating deadlines applying to non-Article 5 parties for the annual submission of critical-use nominations, in accordance with decision Ex. I/4 to reflect the situation of Article 5 parties, and that parties might wish to amend that decision to reflect those dates or simply adopt them through the new version of the handbook.

23. In finalizing her presentation, Ms. Pizano presented the workplan of the Committee for the coming year, highlighting deadlines relating to the critical-use nomination process and tentative meeting dates for the Committee.

III. Scientific Assessment Panel

24. Mr. Paul Newman, co-chairs of the Scientific Assessment Panel, spoke on three topics: (a) the status of the 2014 assessment report of the Scientific Assessment Panel; (b) issues relating to carbon tetrachloride; and (c) preliminary findings relating to a potential new emission, R-316c.

25. In November 2011, the parties had defined the terms of reference (decision XXIII/13) for the next scientific assessment of ozone depletion. The co-chairs had met in Paris from 15 to 17 October to discuss the outline of the new assessment and had drafted a communication to the parties seeking nominations of participants for the assessment. The co-chairs would solicit comments from the science community on the outline and begin recruiting chapter lead authors (to be completed by February 2013). The main preparation process would occur in 2013, with a first draft to be completed by November. The final review of the assessment would occur in June or July 2014, and the document would be made electronically available to the parties by 31 December 2014.

26. The co-chairs reported new findings on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). In the Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2010 (WMO/UNEP, 2011) it was reported that the “top-down” estimates of emissions from atmospheric observations were approximately 40 Gg per year higher than the “bottom-up” emission from production and destruction reports. New work on the lifetime of CCl4 had reduced the atmospheric estimates of “top-down” emissions by 10-20 Gg per year, while measurements of landfills and contaminated sites provided a crude global additional “bottom-up” emission estimate of 8-12 Gg per year. Hence, the gap between the “top-down” and “bottom-up” emission estimates might be smaller than reported earlier. However, it was not currently possible either to state for certain that there were unreported emissions or to rule them out.

27. The co-chairs also reported on the proposed new chlorofluorocarbon compound R-316c. The molecule had two isomers, but they had very similar properties. Laboratory measurements had shown that tropospheric removal of the compound was too slow to destroy substantial amounts of R-316c. The compound was mainly lost in ultraviolet (190-210 nanometer wavelength range) photolysis in the stratosphere (similar to many other CFCs, such as CFC-11 and CFC-12). On the basis of model calculations, the lifetime was estimated to be in the 81-86 year range, and the ozone-depletion potential was approximately 0.5. Infrared measurements indicated that the 20-year global warming potential (GWP) was 4340, the 100-year GWP was 4300 and the 500-year GWP was 2050. In summary, R-316c was long-lived, a powerful ozone-depleting substance and a powerful greenhouse gas.

IV. Environmental Effects Assessment Panel

28. Mr. Nigel Paul, co-chair of the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP), gave an overview of the progress made with regard to the 2014 EEAP report. The Panel had identified key priorities and new information in relation to decision XXIII/13 and started to develop the content of the report with a view to making it available for independent review by December 2013. The Panel would meet in 2014 to discuss revisions with reviewers and develop the final text for November 2014.

29. The co-chair also summarized some of the latest developments in understanding the environmental effects of ozone depletion and changes in solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It was noted that recent progress in modelling changes in UV radiation over the next four or five decades predicted decreases at high latitudes but increases in many mid‑low latitude countries. The magnitude of the environmental effects of such changes in UV radiation would depend not only on location but also on the effect being considered. New information was improving the understanding of the relationship between UV and key effects, such as the human immune system. This would contribute to the 2014 assessment of the balance between the adverse and beneficial effects of solar UV radiation on human health, a balance which varied among different diseases. Similarly, the recent identification of the molecule responsible for sensing short-wavelength UV radiation (UV-B) in plants would contribute to assessing how changes in solar UV radiation would affect terrestrial ecosystems, including crops and their interactions with pests and diseases. With regard to aquatic systems there was new understanding of interactions and feedback in connection with the effects of solar UV and those of other environmental changes (e.g., stratification and acidification). This progress in research into the effects of UV changes in ecosystems would contribute to the assessment of how changes in solar UV radiation would affect the carbon cycle and the chemistry of trace gases (including tropospheric ozone) and aerosols that affected air quality. Assessments of the effects of solar UV radiation would focus on new classes of materials (e.g., photovoltaics and plastics using nano-scale fillers or bio‑fillers) and new information on the interaction of solar UV radiation and temperature on the degradation of materials.

V. Technology and Economic Assessment Panel

30. Mr. Lambert Kuijpers, co-chair of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP), began the Panel presentation by noting that that all six technical options committees under the Panel were making preparations for the 2014 assessment, in which all TEAP and technical options committee (TOC) experts – 150 in total – would be involved. The expertise required to complete the assessment reports was being considered in the final composition of the committees for the 2014 assessment. The TEAP 2014 assessment report would include all the TOC executive summaries as well as the key messages contained in them. He also gave a slide presentation showing all of the names of the TEAP members in 2012.

31. Mr. Kuijpers continued by presenting a number of observations relating to progress and essential elements as submitted by three TOCs, beginning with essential elements for the foam sector. The vast majority of the HCFC phase-out management plans (HPMPs) were complete and had been approved by the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund. The first phase of many HPMPs featured foam transitions because of the prioritization of the HCFC-141b phase-out on a “worst first” basis (see decision XIX/6). He said that there was no single technology solution for all uses of HCFC‑141b and other HCFCs, but that sufficient choices were available in most sectors and regions. He also noted that conversion at small and medium-sized enterprises would present the major challenge in view of the technical and economic constraints involved. The emergence of unsaturated (low global warming potential) HFCs and HCFCs had created additional options with improved thermal performance, and a full‑scale commercial plant to produce the first of those new chemicals had been announced for 2014.

32. On methyl bromide, Mr. Kuijpers stated that less than 1 per cent of the aggregate baseline in non‑Article 5 parties was being requested for critical uses and that 80 per cent of its use in Article 5 parties had been phased out from the aggregate baseline in advance of the 2015 deadline. Article 5 parties could submit critical-use nominations at the beginning of 2013, two years ahead of the phase‑out. Sectors where alternatives to methyl bromide were proving difficult were similar to those in non-Article 5 parties. He also said that parties had been invited to provide more detailed information by March 2013 (under decision XXIII/5) to help identify more detailed information on quarantine and pre-shipment uses.

33. Mr. Kuijpers continued by making a number of remarks related to the progress in refrigeration and air conditioning. Blends (with a global-warming potential smaller than 600) consisting of very low-global-warming-potential HFCs with saturated HFCs were being proposed for certain refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. Manufacturing of HFC-32 equipment had started in one non-Article 5 party and it was predicted to start in certain Article 5 parties in 2013. The rejection of HFC-1234yf by several car manufacturers owing to flammability concerns could result in the application of other low-global-warming-potential alternatives in future mobile air conditioning equipment. Mr. Kuijpers noted that the European Commission F regulation, as proposed in early November 2012, included a ban on HFCs with a global-warming-potential greater than 2,500 by 2020 and that that might impact the application of those high-global-warming-potential refrigerants globally. Efforts to replace HFC-134a with HFC-1234yf were continuing in certain refrigeration and air conditioning sectors and subsectors. He also noted that the number of supermarkets using trans‑critical CO2 systems was steadily increasing, in particular in Europe, and that CO2 cascade systems were also being developed in Article 5 countries, including in Brazil, where there were 31 installations. He concluded by noting that cogeneration systems driven by natural gas for single buildings or district cooling (using absorptions systems) were being evaluated in several countries.

34. Mr. Daniel Verdonik, co-chair of the Halons Technical Options Committee, provided a follow‑on update on decision XXII/11 on the efforts of the Panel and the Committee in engaging with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) in the transition from the use of halon. He explained that in September 2010, the General Assembly had passed a resolution which included determining the reserves of halons available to support current and future civil aviation needs. He indicated that ICAO had issued a State letter to each of its member States requesting a response to the following two questions, given the Montreal Protocol phase-out of halon production: “Do you anticipate that there will be enough halon to meet the civil aviation needs of your State?”, and “Do you know the quantity of halon reserves accessible to the civil aviation industry in your State in order to support its future operations? If ‘Yes’, please provide quantities in metric tonnes.” To date, 55 out of 191 ICAO member States had responded. Mr. Verdonik explained that the results of the survey identified substantial uncertainty on the part of the civil aviation community regarding their needs for halons and current and future halon supplies available to them.

35. Mr. Verdonik provided an assessment of the survey results. He indicated than on the question relating to whether there would be enough halon to meet the civil aviation needs of the State, a large majority answered either “No”, “Unsure” or “Not applicable”. He noted that a similar response was given on the question of whether or not States knew the quantity of halon reserves accessible to the civil aviation industry in their State; the majority responded “No” or “Not applicable”. Mr. Verdonik further indicated that ICAO and HTOC had observed, first, that there was little evidence that States’ civil aviation and ozone offices worked together. However, he also noted that some replies were from ozone focal points. Secondly, he explained that there had been a notable lack of response from those States where much of the halon bottles that supported the global aviation fleet were filled. Thirdly, he pointed out that some States had determined their available supplies. Lastly, he indicated that for those States that had responded “Yes” to knowing their supplies, some did not provide a quantity of halon or indicated“Zero”. Mr. Verdonik summarized the survey results, noting that some States had indicated that their airlines, which serviced both domestic and international markets, said that foreign suppliers provided the halon to fill the fire extinguishers in their fleets and that some States were unaware of any company that recycled halon for aviation fire extinguishers within their country, and therefore, on the basis of those initial replies, it was likely that many States depended on the availability of halon in the few countries that supplied the aviation industry as a whole, and not on stocks within their own States.

36. Mr. Verdonik indicated that ICAO was holding a stakeholders meeting during the same week as the Meeting of the Parties and that those same results and conclusions would be presented on Friday, 16 November 2012 at that meeting. It was understood that ICAO would indicate that it was considering establishing time frames for a mandate for the implementation of halon alternatives in cargo bays, which is currently the last use in civil aviation without a specific date for implementing alternatives. Mr. Verdonik explained that this was important because cargo bays were the largest use of halon in civil aviation, and until time frames had been established, it would not be possible to estimate total halon needs over the lifetime of the aircraft relying on halon for safety/airworthiness. Mr. Verdonik indicated that the civil aviation community still needed to determine the long-term needs for halons, where its halons would come from and how they would report results to parties to the Montreal Protocol. Lastly, he indicated that a new State letter would be sent in an attempt to collect information on supplies of halons available to support civil aviation needs but that this time, each letter would be sent jointly to the ozone focal points and the civil aviation offices in each State to foster collaborative responses.