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IEA Greenhouse Gas R&D Programme

John-Gale cropThe 25th Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the ozone layer was held in Bangkok Thailand between the 21st and 25th October 2013.  The meeting was expected to come up with an agreement to  expand the Montreal Protocol to regulate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) but disappointingly this failed to materialise.  HFCs are commonly used as refrigerants and in other industrial applications. HFCs were developed as ozone-friendly alternatives to chlorofluorocarbons which have been phased out under the Montreal Protocol (CFCs).  HFC’s are less powerful ozone depleting gases a than CFCs but  they double as powerful greenhouse gases.

Two separate proposals, one by Micronesia, Morocco and the Maldives and the second by Canada, Mexico and the United States, were discussed that would expand the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to regulate HFCs.  A concrete decision in favour of regulating HFC’s was expected following an endorsement by leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) in September.

Equally China was considered to be on board thanks to a bilateral agreement between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.   India shouldered most of the blame. Similarly India was expected to be on board after signing onto the G20 commitment, and following a meeting between President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on 27 September 2013 to launch negotiations over the issue.

However India, joined by Saudi Arabia, blocked consideration of the amendments. Which was a disappointing outcome following several years of  preparatory work.  Instead  delegates called for a technical report on HFC alternatives and a formal workshop on the issue next year.