Leaders from 100+ Countries Call for Ambitious Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to Phase Down HFCs. Donors to Provide $80 Million of Support.

October 7, 2016

In late September, the United States hosted a gathering of countries in New York to support negotiations to adopt an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs, which are potent greenhouse gases.

The event highlighted several significant announcements: More than 100 countries called for securing an ambitious amendment with an ‘early freeze date,’ in a document they call ‘New York Declaration of the Coalition to Secure an Ambitious HFC Amendment.’ This group includes the United States, all 28 countries in the European Union, all 54 countries in Africa and others. In addition, more than 500 companies and organizations and hundreds of sub-national governments also called upon world leaders to take strong action on HFCs.

Airgas is a signer of the statement below, calling for aggressive action on HFCs. “By avoiding up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century, a Montreal Protocol hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown amendment is one of the most significant steps the world can take now to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. Today, we call upon world leaders to adopt in October an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol, including an early first reduction step for Article 2 countries and a freeze date for Article 5 countries that is as early as practicable, and we declare our intent to work to reduce the use and emissions of high-global-warming-potential HFCs and transition over time to more sustainable alternatives in a manner that maintains or increases energy efficiency.”

Donations Committed
A group of donor countries and philanthropists announced their intent to provide $80 million in support to help countries in need of assistance (i.e., Article 5 countries) implement an ambitious amendment and improve energy efficiency. The philanthropic component of this is the largest-ever private grant made for energy efficiency in this sector. The 16 donor countries—the United States, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, and New Zealand—announced their intent to provide $27 million in 2017 to the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund, with the rest committed by philanthropists. Without a change in HFC policy and management, global HFC emissions could grow to be equivalent to 19 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in 2050. There are alternative refrigerants available that have comparable performance to HFCs but with significantly reduced climate-changing properties.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published the results of a testing program demonstrating that several viable replacements exist for both HCFC-22 and HFC-410A—two of the most common refrigerants used today—and that these potential replacements perform just as well at high temperatures as today’s refrigerants. See the full press release from the White House.