United Kingdom Ratification of Ambitious Hydrofluorocarbon Greenhouse Gases Phase Down Agreement:Written statement - HCWS239

WS
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Made on: 14 November 2017
Made by: Dr Thérèse Coffey (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment)
Commons

United Kingdom Ratification of Ambitious Hydrofluorocarbon Greenhouse Gases Phase Down Agreement

I am pleased to inform the House that the United Kingdom has completed ratification of an amendment to the United Nations’ Montreal Protocol.

The Kigali Amendment requires a phase down of the production and use of hydrofluorocarbon greenhouse gases (HFCs) over the next three decades in order to mitigate climate change. Agreed in Kigali, Rwanda in October 2016 by 197 Parties to the Protocol, the amendment commits the UK and other developed countries to reduce HFCs by 85% between 2019 and 2036.

The Montreal Protocol is the international treaty agreed in 1987 to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. UK scientists played a key role in discovering the hole in the ozone layer and it was the Conservative Government in the 1980s which pushed hard for international action to protect it. This year the Protocol celebrates its 30th anniversary. It has so far succeeded in phasing out 98% (by potency) of the chemicals responsible for damaging the ozone layer, protecting human health, agriculture and the wider environment. These chemicals include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and were principally used in refrigeration, air conditioning, aerosols, insulation foams, fire extinguishers and various other industrial applications. As a result of their phase out, the ozone layer is showing the first signs of recovery.

The main family of replacement chemicals, HFCs, do not damage the ozone layer but are potent greenhouse gases, with a global warming potential ranging from hundreds to thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide. The growth of refrigeration and air conditioning in developing countries means HFC use could have amounted to as much as 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

With the increasing availability of HFC alternatives for most uses, the UK is already committed to cut HFC usage by 79% by 2030 – amongst the most ambitious phase downs in the world. The Kigali amendment will enter into force on the 1st of January 2019 provided at least 20 countries have ratified it by then, else it will enter into force 90 days following the 20th ratification. Once the amendment has entered into force, this will mean the rest of the world will be following our lead in phasing down HFCs, making a major contribution to addressing climate change and helping level the playing field for UK businesses.

It is estimated that this deal will avoid cumulative emissions equivalent to between 74 and 84 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050, which equates to the output of over 700 coal fired power stations operating between now and 2050. In turn that is likely to avoid close to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century, making a major contribution to the Paris climate agreement goal of keeping the global temperature increase well below 2 degrees.

The UK played a central role in agreeing the deal, and is now one of the first nations in the world to ratify this ground-breaking UN agreement.

The key elements of the amendment are as follows.

Developed countries will meet the following phase down commitment:

  • By 2019, production and consumption of HFCs will be reduced by 10% relative to the amount of HFCs produced or consumed in the years 2011 to 2013, plus an additional allowance of 15% of the baseline used for their phase out of HCFCs.

  • By 2024, the amount will be reduced by 40% and then by 70% by 2029, 80% by 2034 and finally 85% by 2036.

    All developing countries, except India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, Iran and Iraq will meet the following phase down commitment:

  • By 2024, production and consumption of HFCs will be limited to 100% of the average amount of HFCs produced or consumed in the years 2020 to 2022, plus an additional allowance of 65% of the baseline used for their phase out of HCFCs.

  • By 2029, this amount will be reduced by 10% and then by 30% in 2035, 50% in 2040 and finally 80% by 2045.

  • Production and consumption established before 2020 will be eligible for financial support from developed countries to help with the transition to low global warming alternatives.

    India Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, Iran and Iraq, will meet the following phase down commitment:

  • By 2028, production and consumption of HFCs will be limited to 100% of the average amount of HFCs produced or consumed in the years 2024 to 2026, plus an additional allowance of 65% of the baseline used for their phase out of HCFCs.

  • By 2032, this amount will be reduced by 10% and then by 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and finally 85% by 2047.

  • Production and consumption established before 2024 will be eligible for financial support from developed countries to help with the transition to low global warming alternatives.

Certain Gulf countries and others with high average temperatures will be able to exempt large scale air-conditioning from the phase down requirements if they believe suitable alternatives are not available for their climates.

There will be a review of the availability of technologies which use alternatives to HFCs in 2022 and every 5 years thereafter to inform any necessary adjustments to the phase down schedule. There will also be a review 4 to 5 years before 2028 specifically to consider whether those countries which have to cap HFC production and use by 2028 need a compliance deferral of 2 years due to faster HFC growth than anticipated.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS236

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