Countdown to Kigali

Credit: Meng Kai NYTS, The Japan Times

Moving Toward Strong Global Climate Action on HFCs

Co-authored by Bhaskar Deol

Countdown to Kigali is a round-up of recent news, blogs and other stories as world leaders head to Kigali, Rwanda to achieve a global agreement on phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent heat trapping greenhouse gases, under the Montreal Protocol.

Time to Seize the Climate’s Low-Hanging Fruit

NEW YORK – Next month, signatories to the 1989 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will convene in Kigali, Rwanda, to consider an amendment to the treaty that would gradually reduce, and eventually eliminate, the use of hydrofluorocarbons. HFCs, which are one of the six main greenhouse gases, are commonly used in air conditioners and refrigeration systems worldwide. The amendment would be a boon for sustainable development, and could prevent the release of as much as 100-200 billion tons of climate-changing emissions by 2050. That would be enough to take the world a quarter of the way toward achieving the 2 degrees Celsius global-warming target set by the December 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Read Mario Molina’s and Patricia Espinosa’s oped here.

Vulnerable Countries Urge Strong Action On Montreal Protocol

Credit: Bhaskar Deol

Some of the most vulnerable countries in the world just sent a clear message that they want leaders to agree to a strong agreement to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) this year under the Montreal Protocol. World leaders have a chance to minimize the damages to those countries if they act decisively next month and agree to significant cuts in the use of these super-potent, heat-trapping chemicals.

At the recent meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum, many island nations put their support behind an ambitious deal at the Montreal Protocol negotiations in October. Capable of avoiding warming of up to 0.5°C by 2100, an agreement on HFCs is critical to upholding the Paris Agreement's ambition of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. As the Pacific Islands Forum communique states:

"Leaders stressed that the amendment should include an early freeze date for HFC production and consumption followed by a rapid phase down of HFCs."

Read Jake Schmidt’s blog post on Huffington Post here

India Can Help Prevent Temperature Rise Globally

On the cusp of 2016's biggest climate win, India has the opportunity to work with nations around the world on a strong commitment to phase down highly-potent global warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) gases under the Montreal Protocol. In just a few weeks, world leaders will convene for the final meeting of the parties under the Montreal Protocol to reach a deal in Kigali, Rwanda. The Government of India and key stakeholders are looking toward the Kigali meeting and holding a series of industry and stakeholder meetings in New Delhi in September and October. 

Read Nehmat Kaur's blog post here

Big Steps toward Global HFC Deal from U.S., China, India

While all eyes are rightly focused today on the historic action by the United States and China to formally join the Paris Climate Agreement, it’s also worth noting the two countries’ joint steps to reach another historic global climate deal next month—one that will be the world’s biggest climate protection achievement in the year after Paris. 

Nearly 200 nations will meet in Kigali, Rwanda, in October to hammer out the last details of a global phase-down of the potent heat-trapping chemicals called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol, the treaty that saved the ozone layer. Today the U.S. and China signaled that they are working hard together to make it happen. 

Read David Doniger's blog post here

India Focus: Working Towards 2016’s Biggest Climate Win

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and US Secretary of State John Kerry during first India-US Strategic and Commercial Dialogue in 2015

Creative Commons,

Building on the Modi-Obama agreement, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and several key officials are meeting in New Delhi to iron out priority climate issuesincluding a global agreement to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These important discussions come just weeks before major international meetings in Kigali, Rwanda in October, climate week in New York, United States, and the annual climate talks in Marrakesh, Morocco in November.

In June 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Barack Obama vowed to early ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement this year. The leaders also committed to work toward a global agreement to cut heat-trapping HFCs under the Montreal Protocol this year. The high-level discussions this week builds on years of concerted efforts by both countries to deepen the U.S.-India strategic partnership on climate change as well as the protracted negotiations under the Montreal Protocol with the most recent meeting in Vienna last month.

Read Anjali Jaiswal's blog post here

Indian Environment Ministry Announces R&D Programme to Develop Next Generation, Sustainable Refrigerant Technologies

NEW DELHI – The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) today announced a collaborative R&D programme to develop next generation, sustainable refrigerant technologies as alternatives to ozone depleting HFCs.

HydroFluoroCarbons are high global warming potential (GWP) gases used extensively in refrigferants. The amendment in Montreal Protocol for inclusion of HFCs is underway for last seven years. India has also submitted it proposal in May, 2015.

Created under the aegis of the Ozone Cell of the Environment ministry, the research initiative will be led by the CSIR's Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad. The MoEF&CC, along with the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) has also decided to created corpus fund for this research program, with Industry also committing to contribute to the effort.

Read full news story here

Key Dates for the Montreal Protocol:
September and October 2016

  • New York, United States, 21 Sept 2016
    UN Secretary General Special Event on the Paris Climate Agreement
  • New Delhi, India, 26 Sept 2016 
    NRDC-CEEW Industry Consultation on Phasing Down HFCs
  • New, Delhi, India, 5 - 8 Oct 2016
    World Sustainable Development Summit
  • Kigali, Rwanda, 8 Oct 2016
    Resumed 38th Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol
  • Kigali, Rwanda, 10 - 14 Oct 2016
    28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol

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