- Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a group of industrial chemicals primarily used for cooling and refrigeration.
- HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases and a substantial number are short-lived climate pollutants with a lifetime of between 15 and 29 years in the atmosphere.
- HFCs are widespread in air conditioners, refrigerators, aerosols, foams and other products.
- While these chemicals do not deplete the stratospheric ozone layer, some of them have high GWPs ranging from 12 to 14,000.
- Overall HFC emissions are growing at a rate of 8% per year and annual emissions are projected to rise to 7-19% of global CO2 emissions by 2050.
- HFCs were introduced as non-ozone depleting alternatives to support the timely phase out of CFCs and HCFCs under Montreal Protocol.
- The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international environmental treaty that regulates the production and consumption of nearly 100 man-made chemicals referred to as ozone depleting substances (ODS).
- Adopted on 15 September 1987, the Montreal Protocol is the only UN treaty that has been ratified by every country.
- The stratospheric ozone layer protects humans and the environment from harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
- The main aim of Montreal Protocol is to end the use of chlorofluorocarbons.
- Under this treaty, all parties have specific responsibilities related to the phase out of the different groups of ODS, control of ODS trade, annual reporting of data, national licensing systems to control ODS imports and exports, and other matters.
- Developing and developed countries have equal but differentiated responsibilities along with binding, time-targeted and measurable commitments.
- The Parties are assisted by the Ozone Secretariat, which is based at UN Environment Programme headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Developing countries agreed to start their phase out process of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in 2013 and are now following a stepwise reduction until the complete phase-out of HCFCs by 2030.
- The Parties to the Montreal Protocol reached agreement at their 28th Meeting of the Parties on 15 October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda to phase-down HFCs.
- This Agreement particularly aims at phasing out the production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which were first introduced as a substitute to ODSs namely Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
- It came into force on 1st January 2019 and has been ratified by 119 countries so far.
- It will reduce the projected production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by more than 80 per cent over the next 30 years.
- Kigali Agreement legally binds the signatory countries with non-compliance measures.
- It delineates specific targets for the signatory countries to accomplish phasing down of HFCs to be achieved within a specified time limit.
- 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.
Why in News ?
- The Union Cabinet gave its nod for ratification of the Kigali Amendment for phasing down of ozone layer-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by India under the Montreal Protocol.
News in Detail
- The phasing down of HFCs is expected to prevent the emission to the tune of 105 million tonnes of greenhouse gases, which would potentially help avoid a rise in global temperature up to 0.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2100
- Phasing down HFCs will provide a scope for domestic manufacturing of equipment as well as alternative non-HFC and low-global warming potential chemicals to enable the industry to transition to the low global warming potential alternatives.
- In addition, there would be opportunities to promote domestic innovation for new generation alternative refrigerants and related technologies.