Skip to main content

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

I. Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee presentation on methyl bromide critical-use nominations

1. Mr. Ian Porter, on behalf of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel and the two other Co-Chairs of the Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee, Mr. Mohammed Besri and Ms. Marta Pizano, presented information on the final recommendations on critical-use nominations and other issues.

2. In introducing the presentation, he reported that the global consumption of methyl bromide for controlled uses had fallen from 64,420 tonnes in 1991 to less than 2,000 tonnes in 2014 and that the requests for critical use exemptions in 2015 were for less than 400 tonnes. He also noted that the amount of methyl bromide used for quarantine and pre-shipment, exempt from control under the Protocol, was approximately 12,000 tonnes, eight times more than for controlled uses in 2014.

3. He then explained that critical-use requests for methyl bromide from non-article 5 parties had fallen from 17,000 tonnes in 2005 to 40 tonnes in 2017. Eight nominations had been received from four Article 5 parties for 2016, totalling 500 tonnes. Of those, six were for lesser amounts than applied for in 2015 and two were new nominations from the South Africa.

4. Stocks in non-Article 5 parties applying for critical-use exemptions had fallen from 10,400 tonnes in 2005 to less than 150 tonnes in 2014. Critical-use exemption recommendations had not been adjusted to account for stocks of methyl bromide, and Article 5 parties needed to report on stocks if applying for critical-use exemptions in 2016.

5. He then provided an overview of the final recommendations for critical-use exemptions for 11 nominations for pre-plant soil and structures and commodities uses from three non-Article 5 parties (Australia, Canada and the United States) that had nominated 38 tonnes for 2017 and four Article-5 parties (Argentina, China, Mexico and South Africa) that had nominated 497 tonnes for 2016.

6. For commodity uses three nominations totalling 81.6 tonnes had been assessed from two parties. No further information had been received from parties after the last session of the Open-ended Working Group and accordingly no changes had been made to the interim recommendations for those nominations, which were 3,240 tonnes for 2017 for dry cure pork in the United States, 5.462 tonnes for 2016 for mills in South Africa 68.60 tonnes for 2016 structures in South Africa.

7. For pre-plant soil uses eight nominations had been submitted; two non-Article 5 parties and three Article-5 Pprties had requested critical-use exemptions in amounts totalling 35.021 tonnes and 368 tonnes, respectively.

8. Of those, there was no change to the interim recommendations for the Australian (29.76 tonnes), Chinese (99.75 tonnes) and Mexican (84.957 tonnes) nominations.

9. The Canadian nomination for 5.261 tonnes for strawberry runners in 2017 was not recommended, as it was considered that the technical justification in the nomination did not meet the requirements 1 (b) (iii) of of decision IX/6 with regard to “appropriate effort”. Groundwater studies for a key alternative chloropicrin are still pending and no detailed research programme on alternatives is in place.

10. The revised nomination for the tomato sector from Argentina for 75 tonnes was reduced by a further 5 per cent as alternatives (including resistant plants, grafting and 1,3-D/Pic) are considered to be suitable. The Methyl Bromide Technial Options Committee considers that these alternatives can be rapidly adopted in the near future.

11. The revised nomination for the strawberry fruit sector from Argentina of 58 tonnes was recommended in full, as alternatives were either presently unsuitable for the nomination or not registered. The Methyl Bromide Technial Options Committee urges the party to provide more extensive information on the economics and infeasibility of alternatives in any future nomination.

12. He concluded the presentation by discussing key issues for the current round of nominations and explaining that any Article 5 party applying for critical-use exemptions in future years was required in accordance with decision EX-1/4 to provide an accounting framework identifying stocks of methyl bromide (paragraph 9 (f)) and a national management strategy (paragraph 3 (e)). He also explained that the timelines shown each year in the Panel’s final critical-use nomination report should be followed strictly to allow the Methyl Bromide Technial Options Committee time to fully assess nominations. The next nominations, he said, were required by 24 January 2016.

II. Technology and Economic Assessment Panel presentation on the decision XXVI/9 update task force report: additional information on alternatives to ozone-depleting substances

13. Ms. Bella Maranion, task force co-chair, started the presentation on the updated decision XXVI/9 task force report, outlining decision XXVI/9 and the composition of the task force. Where it concerned the response to decision XXVI/9, she said that the updated report built on previous reports to investigate the alternatives to and implications of avoiding high-GWP alternatives to
ozone-depleting substances, considering updated information obtained in various ways. She also said that the limits on the availability of data for some sectors prevented the consideration of
business-as-usual and mitigation scenarios. Where it related to the topics for the update that were discussed at the thirty-sixth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group, the updated report gave the status of many refrigerant alternatives for both Article 5 party and non-Article 5 party scenarios, studied longer manufacturing conversion periods and a later start in a mitigation (MIT-5) scenario and presented updated cost estimates for the various mitigation scenarios and a definition of high ambient temperature (HAT). Costs and benefits as well as market analysis and influences up to 2050 were considered but could not be further analysed due to a lack of time. Where it concerned HAT, some testing data were currently available, but data from a number of testing projects would not be available until the beginning of 2016. A comparison of the updated task force report with the June 2015 report showed that there was no reported change with regard to refrigerants and refrigeration and
air-conditioning (RAC) equipment, that there were major changes in the RAC mitigation scenarios, including Article 5 party cost estimates, that a HAT definition was presented, that no changes had been observed regarding refrigerants in various subsectors in HAT regions and that nothing could be reported on HAT projects, since final reports had not been available when the updated report was finalized. For non‑medical aerosols, new information was given for the cumulative emissions during the period 2015–2030, i.e., an estimate of about 360 Mt CO2-equivalent. No change could be reported for the foams, fire protection and solvents sectors.

14. Mr. Lambert Kuijpers, task force co-chair, then presented the new business-as-usual and mitigation demand scenarios provided in the updated report. Those revised RAC bottom-up scenarios included specific GWPs for specific fluids, as well as an average GWP of 300 for low-GWP refrigerant blends, different manufacturing conversion periods for non-Article 5 and Article 5 parties, as well as manufacturing conversions to commence in 2020 for all RAC subsectors in the MIT-3 scenario, to commence in 2020 for all RAC subsectors except for the stationary air-conditioning subsector in 2025 in the MIT-4 scenario, and manufacturing conversions to commence in 2025 for all RAC subsectors in the MIT-5 scenario. The 2015 quantities in the RAC demand scenarios had been cross-checked against current best HFC global production data estimates. In terms of overall climate impact, the total integrated high-GWP HFC demand in Article 5 parties for 2020–2030 was estimated at 16,000 Mt CO2 equivalent. under the business-as-usual scenario, at 6,500 Mt CO2 equivalent under MIT-3 (60 per cent reduction), 9,800 Mt CO2 equivalent under MIT-4 (40 per cent reduction) and 12,000 Mt CO2 equivalent under MIT-5 (25 per cent reduction). He also said that delaying (and extending) the conversion period for the dominant stationary air-conditioning sector significantly would increase the overall climate impact and that shifting the start of all RAC subsector conversions to 2025, as in MIT-5-,would result in a substantially increased climate impact extending far beyond 2030, in particular for Article 5 parties.

15. Mr. Kuijpers then presented many graphs for the RAC sector for non-Article 5 and Article 5 parties, starting the business-as-usual scenario. The non-Article 5 party business-as-usual scenario showed 50 -60 per cent growth between 2015 and 2030 while, for the same period, the Article 5 party business-as-usual scenario showed 300 per cent growth. The bottom-up estimated demand had been checked with a best guess for production data for the year 2015. Uncertainties owing to a lack of production data, economic growth assumptions, equipment parameters and other factors were significant if extrapolated to 2030. For demand, the stationary air-conditioning subsector was clearly the most important one over the entire period 2015–2030. He then presented the total demand under the MIT-3 and MIT-5 scenarios for non-Article 5 parties. The MIT-5 scenario delayed conversion and resulted in higher demand by 2030. Due to the early completion of conversion (2020, 2025) assumed for non-Article 5 parties, demand was significantly reduced by the year 2030 under both MIT-3 and MIT-5. Due to the economic growth assumed after 2015 in non-Article 5 parties, the difference between MIT-3 and MIT-5 (with different starting dates) was not that large. He then showed the total demand under the MIT-3 and MIT-5 scenarios for Article 5 parties. The 5 year delay in the start of manufacturing conversion under the MIT-5 scenario resulted in a peak demand that was 60 per cent higher than in case of MIT-3; furthermore, the demand estimated under MIT-5 in 2030 was twice the demand under MIT-3. Again, stationary air-conditioning was the determining subsector, followed by commercial refrigeration. Where it related to manufacturing demand for Article 5 parties under MIT-3 and MIT-5, a number of comments were valid. Under the MIT-3 scenario, manufacturing was estimated to peak at 500 Mt CO2-equivalent, while under MIT-5 it was expected to peak at about 750 Mt CO2-equivalent about five years later. By 2030, manufacturing demand would decrease substantially under MIT-3, as a result of the use of low GWP refrigerants, to less than 10 per cent of peak demand. Under MIT-3 and MIT-5, servicing demand in Article 5 parties was more or less the same as for manufacturing. The MIT-5 peak did not occur until 2029 or 2030, and substantial demand would remain after 2030. MIT-5 servicing demand in 2030 was estimated to be three times larger than under MIT-3; the servicing tail under MIT-5 would decrease much more during the 2030–2040 period than before 2030. Again, the stationary air-conditioning subsector was the most important sector. He then showed two graphs on a slide, which showed the total demand under the MIT-3 and MIT-5 scenarios for conversion periods of 6, 8, 10 and 12 years. A 6-year conversion period resulted in a much faster decrease of the total demand under both MIT-3 and MIT-5, while a 12-year conversion period resulted in a very slow decrease in total demand in the 5–10 years after that conversion had started. The graphs showed clearly the importance of an early start and a rapid conversion.

16. Mr. Kuijpers then showed a detailed cost breakdown for manufacturing conversion under both MIT-3 and MIT-5, followed by a summary slide showing total costs ranging from $2.3 billion to $3.2 billion under MIT-3 and MIT-5, respectively, where the reduction from business as usual in GWP‑weighted equivalents went from 60 per cent to 25 per cent, or from a remaining demand of 6,500 Mt CO2-equivalent to 12,000 Mt CO2-equivalent under the MIT-3 and MIT-5 scenario, respectively. With regard to current costs, the most aggressive mitigation scenario was the least expensive. The Technology and Economic Assessment Panel could refine the cost estimates with improved production data, equipment parameters and economic growth assumptions. With regard to servicing costs during 2020–2030, a minimum reduction in servicing amounts, achieved through improved practices, could be estimated for MIT-3, MIT-4 and MIT-5 for the period 2020–2030 at costs ranging from $200 million–$320 million under MIT-3 and MIT-5, respectively. Those servicing costs would have to be added to the manufacturing conversion cost estimates; a larger reduction in servicing costs might be possible but would require additional measures.

17. Mr. Roberto Peixoto, co-chair of the task force, then elaborated on the HAT definition. He said that there was no universal definition of HAT and that HAT countries and regions could be defined as those exceeding a specified number of hours or days per year with temperatures above a specified level. Industry defined temperature zones in that manner. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers provided one such definition (ASHRAE 162-2013), and he presented a slide showing the global temperature zones corresponding to it. Other climate zone definitions existed but had not been used in the updated report, and further study would be required. He said that systems were normally designed to operate acceptably in temperatures up to 43°C, but conditions in some countries required acceptable performance in temperatures up to 52°C. Regarding research on refrigerants for use in HAT regions, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the United States had recently published a report, and projects to test the performance of equipment using various refrigerants in high ambient temperatures were being undertaken by the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, UNEP, UNIDO and a number of enterprises in HAT countries. Data from those projects would not be available until late 2015 or early 2016.

18. Mr. Peixoto concluded the presentation with a number of important observations. By 2030 under a business-as-usual scenario demand for high-GWP HFCs in non-Article 5 parties would grow by 50 per cent and by almost 300 per cent in Article 5 parties, particularly due to growth in the stationary air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration subsectors. Options for alternatives to
ozone-depleting substances, particularly those with no or low global warming potential, continued to appear on the market across all sectors. Delaying and extending the manufacturing conversion period, especially for the dominant stationary air-conditiong sector, would significantly increase both the climate impact and the conversion cost. Continued and improved tracking of production and consumption of all alternatives across all sectors would improve future analysis, and three technical reports on HAT refrigerant testing would provide additional data to inform future assessments.

III. Presentation on the synthesis report for the 2014 quadrennial assessments

19. The synthesis report of the Scientific Assessment Panel, the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel and the Technology and Economics Assessments Panel was presented during the high-level segment of the meeting. The synthesis report was prepared from the material from the 2014 assessments of the three panels.

20. The overarching message was that within a century of the recognition of the harmful effects of ozone-depleting substances on the stratospheric ozone layer, the stratosphere would be restored to its former state and detrimental effects on human would be reversed. Specifically, the overall messages were as follows:

(a) Because the Montreal Protocol had protected the ozone layer, large increases in ultraviolet (UV) radiation had been prevented except near the poles. By preventing large increases in UV radiation the Protocol had protected human health, food production and natural ecosystems;

(b) Within a century of its recognition, ozone layer depletion would be reversed. The international response would have prevented several hundred million cases of skin cancer and tens of millions of cataracts;

(c) Many ozone-depleting substances were also potent greenhouse gases. By controlling ozone-depleting substances the Montreal Protocol had decreased emissions of this important class of greenhouse gases, in contrast to all other major greenhouse gases, emissions of which continued to increase;

(d) Some replacements for ozone-depleting substances were also potent greenhouse gases and so had potentially harmful effects on the Earth’s climate. Scientific and technological advances, however, offered solutions, which if implemented could prevent the problem from becoming significant. The timeline for such progress was highlighted and the thirtieth anniversary of the Vienna Convention and the fortieth anniversary of the publication of the seminal paper by
Professors Mario Molina and Sherwood Rowland were noted.

21. Further details of the findings were given. They included following major findings and highlights:

(a) Progress in technology had reduced the use of ozone-depleting substances and had beneficial side effects. It was noted, however, that while halon production had been phased out since 2010 fire protection in civil aviation remained an unresolved challenge. It was also noted that technological advances enabled movement away from ozone-depleting solvents and other industrial process chemicals;

(b) In response to the technological changes that had enabled reductions in
ozone-depleting substance use, the amount of ozone-depleting substances in the atmosphere was decreasing from its maximum in the1990s. The amount of ozone-depleting substances was expected to continue to decrease with adherence to the Montreal Protocol;

(c) The reduction in atmospheric concentrations of ozone-depleting substances had prevented further depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer, and there were some small signs of recovery. It was noted that the global ozone layer had stabilized and was not getting worse, although it was still too early to state unequivocally that it was improving. It was noted that the Antarctic ozone hole had not worsened but did continue to occur every year, with its magnitude essentially unchanged over the past decade within expected year-to-year variability;

(d) The control of ozone depletion has prevented large increases in UV radiation in most parts of the globe. Damaging effects of ozone loss on human health and the environment have been minimized. Human health has been protected from the worst effects of ozone depletion. It was noted that the Montreal Protocol had limited increases in solar UV-B radiation in populous areas in the world. It was further noted that changes in lifestyle had increased UV exposure and consequently the background prevalence of skin cancers;

(e) An emerging connection between ozone layer depletion and climate was the introduction of the non-ozone depleting HFCs in place of ozone-depleting substances. It was noted that many HFCs were potent greenhouse gases and their potential influence on climate was a concern.

(f) With complete adherence, the levels of ozone-depleting substances should decrease by about .6 per cent per year during the rest of twenty-first century. In response to that decrease, the Arctic and the global ozone layer should return to benchmark 1980 levels around the middle of the century, and somewhat later for the Antarctic ozone hole. As ozone-depleting substances declined, the evolution of the stratospheric ozone layer in the second half of the twenty-first century would depend largely on atmospheric abundances of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4);

(g) Surface levels of UV radiation would decline with the recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer. As the ozone layer recovered, UV-B radiation over the Antarctic was expected to decrease, broadly back to the same levels as existed before the onset of ozone depletion. It was noted that predicting the effects of future changes in UV radiation was complicated by factors beyond just stratospheric ozone;

(h) The Mnotreal Protocol had delivered important co-benefits for the Earth’s climate. In 2010, the decrease in annual ozone-depleting substance emissions under the Montreal Protocol was estimated to provide about five times the climate benefit of the annual emissions reduction targets for the first commitment period (2008–2012) of the Kyoto Protocol;

(i) Without a successful Montreal Protocol, today’s world would have higher levels of ozone-depleting substances; greater ozone depletion; higher levels of UV radiation; and larger climate forcing caused by ozone-depleting substances. Ozone-hole-like depletions would have occurred in the future over large parts of the world and there would have been large increases in UV-B radiation;

(j) Looking beyond 2015, it was noted that if the Parties had failed to implement the Montreal Protocol, the consequences of ozone-depleting substance emissions would have continued through the coming decades. Without a successful Montreal Protocol, the climate effects from higher levels of ozone-depleting substances and from depletion of the ozone layer would have been large. UV-B radiation at the Earth’s surface in the latter part of the twenty-first century would have reached levels far beyond anything experienced in human history, with major impacts on people and the environment;

(k) The destruction of banks of ozone-depleting substances was an option that would yield diminishing returns for accelerating ozone layer recovery;

(l) While HFCs were benign in respect of the ozone layer some were potent greenhouse gases, and continued increases in their use could lead to a significant negative climate impact. Future HFC emissions could be comparable with those of future CO2 emissions by 2050;

(m) The essential principles of the Montreal Protocol that enabled its success were said to be commitment, as shown by universal ratification of the Protocol; consensus as a basic mode of operation; assistance to Article 5 parties; independent assessments of the state of knowledge; periodic updates of the assessments (especially by the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel) as requested by the parties; a functioning operating infrastructure as exemplified by the Multilateral Fund; and monitoring and compliance with the Protocol.