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Minister Edna Molewa welcomes the outcomes of the 28th Meeting of the Parties (MoP 28) to the Montreal Protocol

19 October 2016

 

The Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Edna Molewa has welcomed the ground-breaking adoption of the Amendment of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to phasedown the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) during the twenty-eighth Meeting of the Parties (MOP 28) which ended on Friday 14 October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Delivering a country statement in support of phasing out the climate warming HFCs, Minister Molewa said that South Africa has already completed a process to inform phase-out strategies and action plans for HCFCs. “The regulations on the management and phasing out of ozone depleting substances have been enacted and are being implemented,” she said.

Minister Molewa added that the “regulations are an additional tool to ensure that South Africa remains in compliance with the requirements of the Montreal Protocol. We have been able to meet the target of reducing our HCFC consumption by 10% in 2015, and we are committed in making sure that we will meet all our targets.”

HFCs are a group of man-made chemicals containing the elements carbon, hydrogen and fluorine. They are colourless, odourless and unreactive gases. They are the most potent greenhouse gases and, unlike other gases, can be replaced with less harmful alternatives in air-conditioning, refrigeration, foams and other applications.

The amendment of the Montreal Protocol in relation to phasing down of the HFCs will achieve significant benefits in addressing climate change impacts thereby implementing the Parties Agreement, as this 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 2º Celsius global-warming target set by the Paris climate agreement in December 2015.

The components of the agreement include:

1. Baseline, Freeze and Reduction Steps

In considering the varying national circumstances, countries agreed to have different time table for different developing and developed countries. The table below indicates the different timetables for the reduction of HFCs. Developing countries are classified as A5 and South Africa is in Group 1, where there are majority of the countries including China, Brazil, the Africa Group, Latin America and many Asian countries. India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states are in Group2. Developed countries are covered in A2.

  A5 Group 1 A5 Group 2 A2
Baseline 2020-2022 2024-2026 2011-2013
Formula Average HFC consumption Average HFC consumption Average HFC consumption
HCFC 65% baseline 65% baseline 15% baseline
Freeze 2024 2028 -
1st step 2029 – 10% 2032 – 10% 2019 – 10%
2nd step 2035 – 30% 2037 – 20% 2024 – 40%
3rd step 2040 – 50% 2042 – 30% 2029 – 70%
4th step     2034 – 80%
Plateau 2045 – 80% 2047 – 85% 2036 – 85%
       

2. Exemptions, funding

Countries reached an agreement on a four-year grace period from the HFC phase-out for the world’s hottest countries. This will apply to developing nations, where average temperatures hit 35 degrees Celsius for at least two months a year over a decade. The exemption, which can be renewed if needed, would currently be applicable to 34 countries.

The exemption is necessary to allow for the development of alternatives that will cope with high ambient temperatures and that these are not yet widely available.

Furthermore, countries agreed to revise, within one year after adoption of the amendment, rules governing the Montreal Protocol’s funding platform in order to help poorer countries cope with the HFC phase-down. Activities supported by the multilateral fund will include capacity-building and training for handling HFC alternatives, institutional support, licensing, reporting, demonstration projects, and national strategy development.

3. Intellectual property rights, trade

The adopted amendment makes provision for the patent and royalty costs for compensation from the multilateral fund. This comes as a result of delegates expressing the role of intellectual property rights (IPRs). In addition, the delegates expressed concern over the limited access to patented technology for HFC alternatives, adversely affecting efforts to make the switch, as the incremental costs linked to patented technology could also have a negative impact on national economies.

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