The Montreal Protocol
The Montreal Protocol was adopted on Sept. 16, 1987. It aimed to regulate the production and use of chemicals that contribute to the depletion of Earth’s ozone layer.
The initial agreement was designed to reduce the production and consumption of several types of CFCs and halons to 80 percent of 1986 levels by 1994 and 50 percent of 1986 levels by 1999. The protocol went into effect on Jan. 1, 1989. Since then the agreement has been amended to further reduce and completely phase out CFCs and halons, as well as the manufacture and use of carbon tetrachloride, trichloroethane, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), methyl bromide, and other Ozone Depleting Chemicals (ODCs).
The Antarctic ozone hole grew in size throughout the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century. The ozone layer over the Arctic also thinned, although not as pronouncedly as over the Antarctic. Despite these findings, most scientists contend that the ozone layer will eventually recover. They note that the success of the treaty is exclusively responsible for the substantial decrease of ODCs available for release into the atmosphere.
The Kigali Amendment
In the 28th meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, negotiators from 197 nations agreed to amend the Montreal Protocol in Kigali, Rwanda on 15th October 2016. As per the agreement, parties are expected to reduce the manufacture and use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by roughly 80-85% from their respective baselines, till 2045.
HFCs, which are not ODCs, are commonly used alternatives to ODCs in refrigeration. However while not ODCs, HFCs are Green House Gases with very high warming properties.
So basically with the Kigali Amendment, the Montreal Protocol progressed from being an Ozone protection treaty to one that also addresses Climate Change.
There are two groups of Parties with different baseline years and phase-down schedules.
The following are the reduction steps expected by most parties:
|Baseline Calculation||Average production/ consumption of HFCs in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (plus 15%)|
|Reduction Steps||Year||Percentage reduction|
Global benefits of the Kigali Amendment
The phase down of HFCs is expected to arrest the global average temperature rise by up to 0.5⁰C by 2100. As a Green House Gas, HFC is 14,800 times more potent than CO2, the gas most blamed for climate change due to its abundance.
For a region that is advocating limiting temperature rise to 1.5⁰C as compared to pre-industrial levels (rather than 2⁰C), the implementation of the Kigali Amendment could make the required difference.
Currently there are ninety-one states that have ratified the Kigali Amendment.
Pacific Island Countries already parties to the Kigali Amendment are: Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Niue, Palau, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
Alternatives to HFCs
HFCs are used in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems. Countries have legislated to restrict HFCs with the knowledge that better alternatives of HFCs exist and industry has been closely involved providing the necessary guarantees that these alternatives are readily available and in production.
Alternatives include CO2, Ammonia and Hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs) all of which have much less impact on the environment. Both CO2 and Ammonia come at a much lesser cost than HFCs whereas HFOs are currently more expensive though prices may decrease with increased production.
Support by the Pacific Green Business Centre
The PIDF has a history with the development of the Kigali Amendment. The Suva Declaration (September 2015) recognized “that a number of Pacific Islands Development Forum member states have submitted proposals to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) under the Montreal Protocol. Leaders agreed that such action was a critical component of comprehensive climate change mitigation strategy and agreed to pursue a phase out of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol at its Meeting of the Parties in Dubai this year.”
The Pacific Green Business Centre sees challenges and opportunities for the Pacific private sector in the phase-out of HFCs. It stands ready to support the Private Sector in this important transition.