Annex IV: Summaries of presentations by members of the assessment panels and technical options committees
I. Medical Technical Options Committee
1. Helen Tope, co-chair of the Medical Technical Options Committee, presented the Committee’s assessment of additional information provided in relation to the essential use nomination for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) for metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) from the Russian Federation for 2014. She recalled that the Russian Federation had nominated 212 tonnes of CFCs for MDI manufacture, for which the Medical Technical Options Committee had recommended 106 tonnes in the May 2013 TEAP progress report. During the thirty-third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group, additional information relating to the nomination had been provided by the Russian Federation and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The Russian Federation had subsequently also reported efforts to investigate global CFC stockpiles to supply the country’s CFC requirements in 2014. The Committee’s assessment of that information was provided in an addendum report, published in August. The co-chair also presented new information, indicating that owners of available stockpiles of pharmaceutical-grade CFCs in the United States had recently announced they would destroy such stockpiles in November without a firm commitment to purchase new stocks. The Committee concluded that Russian patients might be at increased risk if the quantity of CFCs authorized for 2014 were limited to six months’ supply, given that additional imported hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) MDIs would not be added to a list of free medicines, upon which many low-income patients relied. Based on that information, the Committee recommended 212 tonnes of CFCs for 2014, utilizing existing available global CFC stockpiles in preference to new CFC production. The co-chair reiterated the Committee’s concern that the challenging schedule for the conversion project, and any unexpected problems, might result in further delays.
II. Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee
2. The co-chairs of the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee, Mohamed Besri and Ian Porter, the co-chair of the Structures and Commodities Subcommittee, Michelle Marcotte, and the co‑chair of the Quarantine and Pre-shipment Subcommittee, Marta Pizano, presented the final recommendations for the critical-use nominations and other issues.
3. Mr. Besri introduced the presentation by summarizing methyl bromide consumption in parties operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5 of the Protocol and parties not so operating. He reported that the global consumption for methyl-bromide-controlled uses had fallen from 64.420 metric tonnes in 1991 to 5.187 metric tonnes in 2011.
4. Regarding the available stocks of methyl bromide (decision IX/6, paragraph 1), he said that Australia, Canada, Japan and the United States of America had reported 0.0 metric tonnes, 0.9 metric tonnes, 2.7 metric tonnes and 627.0 metric tonnes respectively. He noted that table 9.3 of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel progress report issued in May 2013 showed the volume of stocks used and authorized by parties in 2012.
5. Only three parties not operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5 (United States, Canada and Australia) continued to submit nominations. The number of critical-use nominations from parties not operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5 had diminished significantly, from 116 in 2005 to 5 in 2013. No critical-use nominations had been received in 2013 from parties operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5.
6. Mr. Porter presented an overview of the nominations received for pre‑plant soil use of methyl bromide in 2015. Three parties had requested volumes totalling 408.681 metric tonnes and the Committee had made a final recommendation of 310.526 metric tonnes. Consensus had been achieved on all nominations.
7. Australia had nominated 29.76 metric tonnes for strawberry runners and the Committee had recommended 28.765 metric tonnes. The party had provided an economic analysis for strawberry runner production in soilless culture and a new three-year research plan to identify appropriate alternatives to methyl bromide.
8. The Committee had observed that there had been no major reduction in the sector since the 2009 critical-use nominations and that the foundation stock stage in the strawberry runner production chain had already made the transition to soilless production. It had noted that 0.47 metric tonnes were allocated each year by the party for foundation stock, which was a contingency use and, as such, was not recommended. The Committee had also considered that it was feasible to transition the mother plant stage (0.525 metric tonnes) to soilless production.
9. Canada had nominated 5.261 metric tonnes for strawberry runners and the Committee had recommended 5.050 metric tonnes, noting that no reduction had occurred in the sector since the 2011 nomination.
10. The party had stated that a groundwater study to reduce uncertainty over prior informed consent use would be undertaken and that the use of micropropagated plants had reduced the feasibility of expansion to soilless systems. A study on the technical and economic feasibility of soilless production would be conducted. The party had also confirmed that 2016 would be the final year for use of methyl bromide in that sector.
11. The Committee had considered that soilless systems and substrates were widely available as a replacement for methyl bromide in the production of strawberry nursery plants and had recommended that the nominated amount should be reduced by 4 per cent.
12. The United States had nominated 373.660 metric tonnes for strawberry fruit and the Committee had made a final recommendation of 276.711 metric tonnes. The party had requested that the full nomination should be recommended pending determination as to whether the higher use rates for chloropicrin registered federally in 2013 would be accepted by State and local authorities. The party had indicated that 2016 would be the final critical-use nomination for the sector.
13. The Committee had considered that alternatives (1,3-D/chloropicrin and chloropicrin alone under newly permitted rates of up to 392 kilograms per hectare), with or without barrier films, could replace methyl-bromide-specific critical-use nomination uses. Complete phase-out of methyl bromide was feasible. Given the current uncertainty regarding regulations on the use of chloropicrin at higher dosage rates, the Committee’s final recommendation allowed for a three-year transition period. Given that the technologies for the application of chloropicrin were known, the Committee had considered that a greater reduction than the 10 per cent made by the party could be achieved in 2015 and therefore recommended a lower volume of methyl bromide.
14. Ms. Marcotte presented the final assessment of two post-harvest critical-use nominations and reviewed the emergency use by Canada of methyl bromide in two pasta warehouses.
15. The United States had nominated 0.310 metric tonnes for fresh dates requiring quick shipment. That nomination had not been recommended by the Committee in view of the fact that technically effective and commercially accessible alternatives were available; the need for a three-day market window for the estimated 25 per cent of the total harvest volume nominated had therefore not been substantiated by the party.
16. The United States had nominated 3.240 metric tonnes for dry cure pork in 2015 and the Committee had recommended that nomination. Extensive research had demonstrated a continued lack of success with possible alternatives, in particular in killing mites. The Committee had also made suggestions pertaining to new research and pest management.
17. Following its emergency use regulation, Canada had used 4.74 tonnes of methyl bromide to fumigate two pasta warehouses after finding phosphine-resistant pests in packaged pasta. That was the first time that such pests had been identified in Canada and it was therefore important to stop their spread. The Committee had provided suggestions on possible ways to avoid such events in the future.
18. The Committee had noted the following suggestions to avoid pest resistance: a stringent integrated pest management programme, managed by experienced and capable pest control operators, was a necessary prerequisite; before fumigation, the pests should be assessed and then proper fumigation should be carried out in accordance with the instructions on the fumigant label; only facilities or structures of “good” gas tightness should be fumigated; fumigants should not be used in facilities of “poor” gas tightness; if pest resistance was suspected, tests faster than the method recommended by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations should be used to allow for more effective follow-up fumigation.
19. Ms. Pizano summarized a number of other issues pertaining to the uses of methyl bromide. She set out the timeline for critical-use nominations in 2014 and said that 1 January 2015 was the phase-out date for the use of methyl bromide by parties operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5. Critical-use nominations for 2015 should be submitted in January 2014 and those for 2016 could be submitted in either January 2014 or January 2015.
20. In sharing the highlights of the progress report of the Quarantine and Pre-shipment Subcommittee, she noted that 43 parties had, pursuant to Article 7 of the Protocol, reported quarantine and pre-shipment consumption for 2012 totalling 8,665 metric tonnes and that the quarantine and pre‑shipment report (prepared pursuant to decision XXIII/5) presented information from 34 parties, including States members of the European Union, on quarantine and pre-shipment use categories.
21. Since the 2013 progress report of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel, additional information had been received from three other parties (United States, Canada and Japan). Most parties had provided a detailed breakdown of quarantine and pre-shipment uses by category, giving a good basis for further analysis by the Committee. As anticipated in decision XXIII/5 and in the light of that information, parties might wish to request the Committee to undertake a trend analysis of methyl bromide consumption for the quarantine and pre-shipment sector.
III. Scientific Assessment Panel
22. Ayit-L Ajavon, co-chair of the Scientific Assessment Panel, presented the Panel’s plans for the development of the 2014 scientific assessment of ozone depletion. He described a new approach that would produce a concise document focused on decision-relevant information. He explained that, in accordance with decision XXIII/13, the assessment would look at key issues and respond to specific requests made by the Parties. It would review, among other topics, levels and trends of ozone, ozone‑depleting substances and related chemicals, and the science related to stratospheric ozone and climate. The assessment process was developing well: author teams had been formed, the outline established and the first draft nearly completed. In the course of 2014, the draft would undergo further review and revision before being delivered as a pre-print volume to UNEP by 30 December 2014.
IV. Environmental Effects Assessment Panel
23. Nigel Paul, co-chair of the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel, presented the Panel’s plans for the development of its 2014 assessment of the effects of ozone depletion on human health and the environment. He explained that, in accordance with decision XXIII/13, the assessment would look at key issues and respond to specific requests made by the Parties. In particular, it would review the relationship between changes in ozone levels and the consequent change in ultraviolet radiation as it affects humans and ecosystems, including contrasting effects within organisms (for example, the positive and negative effects of ultraviolet radiation on human health). It would also review ecosystems, assess the improved understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of responses and examine how the effects of ozone change interact with other elements of environmental change. The first draft of the 2014 report was being prepared and was due to be completed by the end of 2013. During the course of 2014, the draft would undergo further review and revision before being delivered to UNEP by 30 December 2014.
V. Technology and Economic Assessment Panel: report on the 2014 assessment
24. Bella Maranion, co-chair of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel, gave a presentation reporting on the Panel’s activities for the overview assessment in 2014. She introduced her fellow co-chairs, Lambert Kuijpers and Marta Pizano, and presented a list of the members of the Panel for 2013. She noted that the 2014 assessment report of the Panel would be based on the 2014 assessment reports of the six technical options committees, involving the work of some 150 experts who served on those committees. The committees had started to make organizational preparations for their 2014 assessments, including scheduling meetings and considering the balance of expertise needed within the committees, as membership re-appointments were being reviewed in 2014, as required by decision XXIII/10. She highlighted developments within each of the committees, including changes due to the retirement of co-chairs, and said that the impact of those changes on the assessment process would be both managed and minimized. The technical options committees would complete their assessment reports by the end of 2014 and the Panel would complete its report in early 2015.
25. She then highlighted the main items to be considered for the 2014 assessment by each of the six technical options committees. For the Chemicals Technical Options Committee, those included decreases in ODS process agent uses; increases in feedstock uses; new low-global-warming-potential solvents entering the market; and uncertainties with regard to carbon tetrachloride emissions.
26. The Flexible and Rigid Foams Technical Options Committee would provide an overview of transition progress in Parties operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5 and those not so operating, setting out the challenges posed; a quantitative update of global blowing agent consumption; a review of emerging low-global-warming-potential alternatives; and an update on banks and management strategies in that sector.
27. The Halons Technical Options Committee would include in its assessment an evaluation of the development status of new chemical alternatives; consideration of the continued reliance on halons in the military and industrial sectors; an update on progress made by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), in association with the Committee, in respect of the phase-out of halons in civil aviation, as required by decision XXII/11 (in the light, in particular, of a resolution recently adopted by the ICAO Assembly on continuing progress towards development of halon replacements in civil aviation, which directed its Council to report on a timeframe for cargo compartment halon replacement at the next meeting of the Assembly in 2016); and a review of the status of halon destruction technologies.
28. The Medical Technical Options Committee assessment would include reporting on the progress in CFC MDI phase-out and any remaining challenges; progress in the phase-out of ozone‑depleting substances used for sterilization and medical aerosols other than MDIs; and progress on alternative technologies, such as HFC MDIs, dry powder inhalers, aqueous sprays and other emerging technologies.
29. In its assessment, the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee would consider controlled uses of methyl bromide (pre-plant soil and commodities and structures uses), with particular focus on those applications that still required or might in future be nominated for critical uses, both by parties operating under paragraph 1 of Article 5 and by those not so operating. It would also analyse exempted uses of methyl bromide (quarantine and pre-shipment), which currently comprised some 80 per cent of total global methyl bromide use.
30. The assessment by the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps Technical Options Committee would include an analysis of the use of refrigerants in each refrigeration and air conditioning application chapter (Ammonia [R-717], Carbon dioxide [R-744] and hydrocarbons [HC‑290 and others]; HCFCs; HFCs; and hydrofluoroolefins [unsaturated HFCs and HCFCs]); market availability, barriers and restrictions (including safety and efficiency), current trends and costs for those applications in each (sub-) sector; estimates on refrigerant banks and emissions; a new chapter entitled “Sustainable Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps”; and a section on the mobile air conditioning sector with regard to the application of low-global-warming-potential alternatives.