Montreal Protocol: Vienna talks pave the way for an ambitious plan to phase down HFCs

Who and where: The Open-Ended Working Group of Parties to the Montreal Protocol will meet in Vienna, Austria, on 15 July 2016. Nearly 40 ministers have committed to be present in the negotiations on 22-13 July. Last year, Parties agreed to reach an agreement in 2016 on cutting down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are the fastest growing greenhouse gases in many countries. Used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are used in refrigeration, air conditioning, insulation, aerosols, solvents and fire protection products. Successful talks in Vienna could lead to an agreement when the Parties meet in Kigali, Rwanda, in October 2016. Such an agreement will help establish an early, clear and ambitious schedule to phase down HFCs, improve appliance energy efficiency, and quickly arrest warming.

 Why:

  • Nearly 178 countries to date have signed the Paris Agreement and 19 have ratified it. The international community recognises the urgency to take immediate measures to prevent global warming passing the 1.5ºC threshold.
  • The talks in Vienna will set the stage for an agreement on an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs as it presents the earliest opportunity for the international community to unite once again on another landmark environmental pact to protect the climate.
    A rapid phasedown of HFCs could prevent more than 100 billion tonnes of CO2-e from entering the atmosphere over the next several decades and avoid 0.5°C warming by the end of the century. There are four proposals to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs (from the North American countries, the European Union, India and the Island States.) There is strong political will to take the talks forward demonstrated by the many high-level ministers who will be present in Vienna.
  • In 1987, the Montreal Protocol was formed to address the depletion of the ozone layer from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances. The success of that agreement, which has put the ozone layer on the path to recovery by 2065, calls for a repeat.

Civil society expectations from this meeting:  

  • The talks in Vienna should set the stage for an agreement that will ensure an ambitious phase-down schedule for both developed and developing countries.
  • Developed countries need to lead on setting an ambitious phase-down schedule of HFCs so as to commercialise climate-friendly alternatives, make them competitive and build confidence for developing countries to transition.
  • Developed countries need to provide adequate funding and technology transfer under the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to enable developing countries to remain on track with their phase-down schedule.
  • Additional fast start funding should be made available to developing countries to achieve energy efficiency gains, including to improve the design of equipment using alternatives to HFCs.          

More resources:
Ozone Secretariat 
CAN Briefing Paper: Achieving an ambitious outcome on HFC Phasedown under the Montreal Protocol in 2016 (Climate Action Network International)
Momentum growing for HFC agreement as Vienna talks kick-off (Natural Resources Defense Council)
Primer on HFCs (Institute of Governance and Sustainable Development
The importance of ambition in the 2016 HFC phase-down agreement (Environmental Investigation Agency)

For more information, please contact:
Dharini Parthasarathy, Communications Coordinator-Policy, CAN International,
email: dparthasarathy@climatenetwork.org or call +918826107830,
Lina Dabbagh, Senior Policy Coordinator, CAN International, email: ldabbagh@climatenetwork.org 

About CAN:
The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1100 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 countries, working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels