Skip to main content

The Kigali Amendment: The New Year’s resolution we must not break

The Kigali Amendment

The New Year celebrations are now behind us and a return to work is looming together with our New Year’s resolutions; promises to ourselves to change our daily habits towards a greener planet or to be better people. A few days into the new year, there is a good chance that we may have already broken some of our resolutions. However, there is one we cannot afford to break.

On the first day of 2019, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol – a global resolution to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions mainly from the cooling industry – entered into force, and the participating countries now must adhere to their commitments.

If we needed a reminder of why we must act, 2018 gave it to us in spades. We witnessed extreme weather events across the globe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that we only have until 2030 to meet the 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement. Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rose to a new high.

With the Kigali Amendment, nations have a chance to repaint this grim picture. They are promising to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products by more than 80% over the next 30 years. Cutting the use of these powerful climate-warming gases could avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. The Amendment also opens a window to redesign cooling equipment to make them more energy efficient. Actions to phase down HFCs and enhance energy efficiency can increase the effects of actions taken in isolation.

With the Kigali Amendment, we have a real chance to take a big bite out of climate change. With this in mind, everybody involved in the Montreal Protocol worked hard throughout 2018 to ensure the Kigali Amendment hits the ground running.

We have ratifications from 65 parties (as of 21 December 2018), with more expected. The parties have put in place practical arrangements for the implementation of the Amendment. They have agreed on technologies for the destruction of HFCs and adopted new data reporting requirements and tools. Enabling activities are also already underway. With funding from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, parties are building their capacity, strengthening institutions and developing national strategies to ensure we tackle HFCs quickly and decisively.

This preparatory activity gives us hope that we can succeed, as does the Montreal Protocol’s record at keeping its resolutions. The latest report from the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol, released at the 30th Meeting of the Parties in November 2018, shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000. At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone will heal completely by the 2030s, followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and the Antarctic ozone hole to gradually close by 2060. This healing is a direct result of the banning, under the Montreal Protocol, of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other substances that were tearing a hole in the ozone layer and letting harmful UV-B radiation damage human and ecosystem health.

But the events of 2018 also showed us that we must be careful to preserve this progress in the face of new threats. A scientific study revealed an unexpected and persistent increase in global emissions of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) in recent years, despite the reported elimination of production.

These emissions can slow down the recovery of the ozone layer if they continue, which is why the Montreal Protocol parties have acted swiftly. At the Meeting of the Parties, they ordered a conclusive scientific investigation into the emissions and agreed on a path forward in resolving the issue. While the new emissions are worrying, the fact that we detected them shows that the monitoring, networks and science in place to protect the ozone layer are working. Had scientists not been monitoring the atmosphere, we would be none the wiser about these unexpected emissions.

Dealing decisively with the unexpected emissions of CFC-11 will raise the bar of expectations of delivery by Montreal Protocol institutions. To do that, we should pause, reflect on what worked well for 31 years, and identify what can be strengthened and renewed. We are evolving together with a treaty that has been keeping us proud and successful for so long.

As 2019 begins, we can be quietly satisfied with the work we have done in getting the Kigali Amendment up and running. But we must remember that much more effort lies ahead if we are to preserve and build on the gains we have made for human health, economies and the planet.

Kigali Amendment implementation begins

Kigali Amendment implementation begins
  • The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal protocol will reduce the projected production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by more than 80 per cent over the next 30 years.
  • If fully supported, the amendment can avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of this century.
  • 65 countries have already ratified the amendment, with more expected in the weeks to come.

Nairobi, 03 January 2019 – The world has taken an important step on the road to drastically reduce the production and consumption of powerful greenhouse gasses known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and limit global warming, with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer coming into force on 1st January 2019.

If fully supported by governments, the private sector and citizens, the Kigali Amendment will avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming this century while continuing to protect the ozone layer. The amendment will substantively contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

HFCs are organic compounds frequently used as refrigerants in air conditioners and other devices as alternatives to ozone-depleting substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol.While HFCs themselves do not deplete the ozone layer, they are extremely potent greenhouse gases with global warming potentials that can be many times higher than carbon dioxide.

The parties to the amendment have put in place practical arrangements for its implementation, including agreements on technologies for the destruction of HFCs and new data reporting requirements and tools. The amendment comes with provisions for capacity-building for developing countries, institutional strengthening and the development of national strategies to reduce HFCs and replace them with alternatives. Phasing down HFCs under the Kigali Amendment may also open a window to redesign cooling equipment that is more energy efficient, further increasing the climate gains.

Implementation of new targets set out in the amendment will be done in three phases, with a group of developed countries starting HFCs phase-down from 2019. Developing countries will follow with a freeze of HFCs consumption levels in 2024 and with a few countries freezing consumption in 2028.

Ratified by 65 countries so far, the Kigali Amendment builds on the historic legacy of the Montreal Protocol agreed in 1987. The Protocol and its previous amendments, which require the phasing out of the production and consumption of substances that cause ozone depletion, have been universally ratified by 197 parties.

The broad support for and implementation of the Montreal Protocol has led to the phase-out of more than 99 per cent of nearly 100 ozone-depleting chemicals and significantly contributed to climate change mitigation.

Evidence presented in the latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000. At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060. 

NOTES TO EDITORS

About the UN Environment Ozone Secretariat

The UN Environment Ozone Secretariat is the Secretariat for the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Secretariat facilitates and supports the parties to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol and other stakeholders in implementing actions to protect and heal the ozone layer and contribute to climate change mitigation.

About UN Environment

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

For more information, contact

Dan Teng’o, Communications Officer, UN Environment Ozone Secretariat

Shari Nijman, Communications Officer, UN Environment News and Media Unit

Ozone treaties carbon neutral for fourth straight year

Ozone treaties carbon neutral for fourth straight year

The Ozone Secretariat has once again demonstrated its commitment to climate action by making its operations carbon neutral for the fourth consecutive year.

The Secretariat measured the carbon footprint of all meetings held and operations conducted under the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol in 2017 and offset the greenhouse gas emissions created, equivalent to 1,336 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“Reducing and offsetting our emissions annually is an important priority that complements the work being undertaken by parties to the Montreal Protocol to protect our environment,” said Tina Birmpili, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat.

Montreal Protocol parties are set to begin implementing the Kigali Amendment when it enters into force on 1 January 2019. The amendment could avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming this century, if fully supported by governments, the private sector and citizens. It could also contribute to limiting the rise of global temperature to 1.5°C and preventing dangerous warming.

The Secretariat worked with UN Climate Change – the secretariat that runs the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – to determine its carbon footprint and purchase UN certified emission reductions (CERs).

UN Climate Change issued a certificate through its Climate Neutral Now initiative confirming the voluntary cancellation of 1,336 CERs to compensate for unavoidable emissions from the offices and travel operations of the Secretariat in 2017. Cancelling CERs puts them out of circulation and prevents re-use.

As well as its normal travel and operations, the certificate compensates for all travel emissions related to the 39th Open-ended Working Group of the parties to the Montreal Protocol, the joint 11th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention and the 29th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, and all meetings of the Assessment Panels of the Montreal Protocol.

The Secretariat used a web-based carbon calculator created by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to calculate its emissions.

#OzoneHeroes wins a Hermes Creative Award

Ozone Heros Campaign awards

#OzoneHeroes is the 2018 Gold Winner in the "Communication & Marketing Campaign" category of the Hermes Creative Awards

(6 November 2018) Last year marked the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Montreal Protocol, the international agreement that has led to the phase-out of more than 99 per cent of chemicals that damage the ozone layer and significantly contributed to mitigation of climate change. UN Environment created the #OzoneHeroes campaign in partnership with Marvel to celebrate the Protocol’s continued success.

The campaign journey follows Iron Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy as they discover humans are the superheroes who solved the global issue of ozone depletion. Its website (www.ozoneheroes.org) features a quiz to determine your own superpower to emphasize the point that our human qualities are what equip us to solve the world's most pressing problems. 

The #OzoneHeroes campaign was granted a prestigious Hermes Creative Award for its creative messaging and website design. 

The Hermes Creative Award, one of the largest of its kind in the world, is an international competition for the concept, writing and design of traditional materials, marketing and communication programs, and emerging technologies. It is administered and judged by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals, an international organization that consists of several thousand creative professionals. #OzoneHeroes received the 2018 Gold Award in the "Communication & Marketing Campaign" category. 

Read the comic and find out your superpower at the award-winning website: ozoneheroes.org!

30th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol

MOP30

Media Advisory

Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will meet in Quito, Ecuador, from 5 to 9 November to take action to ensure continued protection of the ozone layer and reduction of climate-warming gases under the Kigali Amendment to the Protocol. 

Set to enter into force on 1 January 2019, the Kigali Amendment requires countries to cut projected production and consumption of climate change-inducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in refrigerators, air conditioners and related products by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years. The Amendment, so far ratified by 56 parties, is expected to avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.

At the Quito meeting to be hosted by the Government of Ecuador, the parties will take decisions on practical arrangements for the implementation of the Amendment. They will also consider how to tap into opportunities to enhance energy efficiency while phasing down HFCs in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector to achieve further climate benefits.

The parties will also take decisions on other issues related to the protection of the ozone layer, including on actions to be taken by all stakeholders to address an unexpected increase in global emissions of the banned chemical trichlorofluoromethane or CFC-11, the second most abundant ozone-depleting gas controlled by the Montreal Protocol.

Opportunity: Journalists are welcome to cover the meeting.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Journalists wishing to cover the meeting should note that some of the sessions will not be open to the media and they will be informed of such sessions during the meetings.

For more information, please contact:

·         Keith Weller, Head of News and Media, UN Environment. keith.weller@un.org 

·         Dan Teng’o, Communications Officer, Ozone Secretariat. dan.tengo@un.org

Keep Cool and Carry On

Keep Cool and Carry On - Ozone day 2018

Keep Cool and Carry On

The Montreal Protocol has been keeping our planet cool for years by phasing out ozone-depleting substances that are also potent global-warming gases.

During this year's World Ozone Day on 16 September 2018, we urged everyone to Keep Cool and Carry On by celebrating the work so far, continuing to protect the ozone layer and accelerating action to take an even-bigger bite out of climate change..

Find out more about this year’s World Ozone Day here.

Parties take up urgent response to CFC-11 emissions

Pollution
  • Evidence for rise in CFC-11 emissions indicate levels consistent with new production.
  • Parties adopt unanimous call for definitive identification of sources.
  • Panels tasked with delivering comprehensive findings to 30th Meeting of the Parties.

VIENNA, 16 JULY 2018 – Delegates, representatives, civil society groups, implementing agencies, and industry stakeholders gathered here this week for the 40th Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) of the Montreal Protocol. This annual meeting is a critical opportunity for multilateral deliberations informed by scientific assessments in the months before the 30thMeeting of the Parties in November, which serves as the formal decision-making body to the Protocol.

With more than 140 national delegations on hand, representatives convened against the backdrop of an urgent challenge to over 30 years of ozone recovery.  

Addressing reports of a persistent rise in ozone depleting CFC-11 emissions, Executive Secretary of UN Environment’s Ozone Secretariat, Tina Birmpili opened the meeting with a reminder that the world now looks to the Protocol for answers and action. “It is in these moments that the mechanisms of the international community are more valuable than ever,” said Birmpili. "We cannot relax our vigilance for a second. We cannot let this go unaddressed. Any illegal consumption and production of CFC-11 demands decisive action.”

First uncovered by members of the Montreal Protocol’s Scientific Assessment Panel and published in Nature, delegates were presented with evidence for five key findings.

  1. Since 2013, the annual decline in CFC-11 concentration has been only half as fast as it was over the previous decade (2002-2012). 
  2. Emissions of CFC-11 increased after 2012 and have remained elevated in all years since.
  3. Monitoring data currently available suggest Eastern Asia as the source of these emissions.
  4. The scale of observations suggests unreported production of CFC-11 after the 2010 global phase-out.
  5. Despite accounts presented to the parties, the exact sources of these emissions have yet to be fully verified and accounted for.

The reaction from parties gathered here, emphasized the need for an urgent response based on a full review of the latest findings. In a process that reflected the careful mix of exacting science and collaborative action that has made the Montreal Protocol one of the world’s most successful and impactful multilateral agreements, delegates unanimously agreed to definitively quantify, locate and halt these emissions.

Submitted to the Meeting of the Parties for action delegates here requested a sweeping response highlighted by three immediate next steps.

  1. The Scientific Assessment Panel to provide to the parties a summary report on the unexpected increase of CFC-11 emissions, including additional information regarding atmospheric monitoring and modelling with respect to such emissions.
  2. The Technology and Economic Assessment panel to provide the parties with information on potential sources of emissions of CFC-11 and related controlled substances from potential production and uses, as well as from banks, that may have resulted in emissions of CFC-11 in unexpected quantities in the relevant regions.
  3. All parties to submit relevant scientific and technical information on related emissions monitoring by March 1, 2019.

Other key issues addressed by this body included an assessment of opportunities to enhance energy efficiency in the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector while phasing down HFCs and implementation of the Kigali Amendment including destruction technologies for controlled substances and data reporting.

The 30th Meeting of the Parties (MOP 30) to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is scheduled to convene from 5-9 November 2018.

 

NOTES TO EDITORS
 

About UN Environment:

UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.

About the Ozone Secretariat:

The Ozone Secretariat is the Secretariat for the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and for the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Based at the UN Environment offices in Nairobi, Kenya, the Secretariat functions in accordance with Article 7 of the Vienna Convention and Article 12 of the Montreal Protocol.

For media inquiries, please contact:

Keith Weller, Head of News and Media, UN Environment. keith.weller[at]un.org

SAP Co-Chair John Pyle awarded for scientific leadership

Pyle Davy

Co-Chair of the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol, Prof. John Pyle, has been awarded the 2018 Davy Medal for pioneering leadership in understanding the depletion of the global ozone layer by halocarbons, particularly coupling between chemistry, radiation, and dynamics, and the special vulnerability of Arctic ozone.

Prof. Pyle will receive a medal of bronze, and a gift of £2,000 at the Society's Anniversary Day Meeting on 30 November 2018.

“We, in the ozone community, are so proud to have Professor John Pyle guiding the decision making of the parties to the Montreal Protocol with his sound science. We congratulate him for this award, which recognizes his leadership in the assessment of the state of the ozone layer over the years. His work has vastly contributed to our global efforts to protect the ozone layer,” said Tina Birmpili, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat.

The Davy Medal is awarded annually to an outstanding researcher in the field of chemistry. The medal is named after Humphry Davy, the chemist and inventor of the Davy Lamp, and was first awarded in 1877

Montreal Protocol operations carbon neutral for third year running

Courtesy US National Parks

The Ozone Secretariat, which manages the international agreement that is healing the planet’s ozone layer and contributing to the fight against climate change, has made its operations carbon neutral for the third year in a row.

The Secretariat measured the carbon footprint of all meetings held and operations conducted under the Montreal Protocol in 2016 and offset the greenhouse gas emissions created.

“By reducing and offsetting our own emissions, we are showing our commitment to a better future for our planet and we practice what we preach,” said Tina Birmpili, Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which will enter into force on 1 January 2019, targets a reduction in the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These chemical compounds became widely used substitutes for ozone-depleting substances phased out under the Montreal Protocol, but are climate-warming gases.

The Ozone Secretariat worked with UN Climate Change – the secretariat that runs the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), under which the Paris Agreement sits – to determine its carbon footprint and purchase Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) from the Adaptation Fund.

The Adaptation Fund finances projects to help developing countries adapt to the negative effects of climate change. CERs, which are issued by the Clean Development Mechanism, provide funding to projects that have proven climate mitigation benefits and back sustainable development in developing countries.

UN Climate Change issued a certificate confirming the voluntary cancellation of 2,215 Adaptation Fund CERs to compensate for unavoidable emissions from the offices and travel operations of the Ozone Secretariat in 2016. Cancelling CERs puts them out of circulation and prevents re-use.

As well as its normal travel and operations, the certificates compensate for all travel emissions related to the thirty-ninth Open-ended Working Group of the parties to the Montreal Protocol, the joint Eleventh Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention and the Twenty-Ninth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, and all meetings of the Assessment Panels of the Montreal Protocol.

The Secretariat used a web-based carbon calculator created by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to calculate its emissions.

 

Offsets Certificate Ozone Secertariat 2016

European Commission funds Ozone Secretariat activities related to HFCs

European Commission funds Ozone Secretariat activities related to HFCs

Ozone Secretariat Executive Secretary Tina Birmpili (right) and the EU's Head of Delegation Philip Owen sign the agreement. Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth

The funding will allow:

  • The preparation of briefing papers to enable Parties to hold informed discussions on any decisions they make on HFCs. 
  • Developing country (Article 5) Parties' participation in Montreal Protocol meetings. 
  • 2017 communication campaign to raise awareness on HFC issues as well as for the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol.

From the start, the European Union has promoted an HFC amendment of the Montreal Protocol. With this funding the European Commission continues its support towards efforts to phase down HFCs, which will contribute to mitigating climate change.

Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, Tina Birmpili, stated that "this contribution to the Secretariat facilitates important work on HFCs. It also demonstrates a sincere commitment by the European Commission to ensure a transparent and inclusive process."