Making Climate Change and Ozone Treaties Work Together to Curb HFC-23 and Other "Super Greenhouse Gases"

Issue Paper
November 09, 2010

This paper, by two preeminent experts on the global treaties to protect the ozone layer and the climate, reviews problems with Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) climate change mitigation projects intended to destroy HFC-23, a powerful greenhouse gas. The CDM is a mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol (the international climate change treaty) that allows developed countries to get credit for emission reductions achieved through approved projects they finance in developing countries. HFC-23 is a greenhouse gas controlled by the Kyoto Protocol that is an unwanted byproduct of the production of HCFC-22. HCFC-22 is a chemical that contributes to both depletion of the ozone layer and climate change; it is being phased out under the Montreal Protocol (the international ozone layer treaty that also protects climate).

The paper proposes reforms to the CDM, complementary actions by the Montreal Protocol, and national policies that will achieve these key objectives:

  • Stop overpayment for HFC-23 destruction, ending perverse incentives to increase emissions harmful to the climate and the ozone layer
  • Control HFC-23 emissions from all plants in all countries, not just those currently enrolled in CDM projects, on the basis of actual control costs, plus a reasonable return
  • Harmonize policies under two treaties to accelerate reductions of HCFCs and HFCs