Kigali (Rwanda), Oct 12 (IANS) China is the single most important factor in determining climate benefits with the phasing out of heat-trapping organic compounds — hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — and replacing them with climate-friendly alternatives, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said here on Wednesday.
HFCs are super greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air-conditioning.
An analysis released here by CSE shows that if China alone decides to take 2020-22 as baseline while other developing countries, including India, take 2024-26 as baseline, HFC emissions equivalent to 10 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions can be reduced.
“This is two times the total yearly CO2 emissions by the US,” it said.
The baseline year determines the level at which the HFC consumption in countries are capped.
“Our analysis clearly shows that the Indian proposal of having one baseline for China and another for the remaining group of A5 (developing) countries is ambitious from climate benefit perspective,” Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director of the Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, told IANS.
He said the developed countries are trying to push others to the 2020-22 baseline but this shift will have insignificant impact on the climate benefit. “This is not an issue which is important enough to create discord within parties.”
At present, the 28th meeting of the Parties to the 1989 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is underway in the Rwandan capital till October 14 to freeze an agreement as early as possible to eventually eliminate the use of HFCs.
“As we enter the last three days of negotiations in Kigali, we see a sense of accommodation and flexibility within parties. However, this positive environment is being sullied due to quibbling by the A2 (developed) parties about the proposed baseline years for the A5 (developing) parties,” he said in a statement.
A general consensus, he said, seems to be emerging within the A5 parties to have a dual baseline.
One group of countries, including China, seems to favour average HFC consumption during 2020-22 as the baseline.
Another group, that includes India, seems to opt for average HFC consumption during 2024-26 as the baseline, he said.
In a landmark decision in November last, the 197 Parties of the Montreal Protocol agreed to the “Dubai Pathway on HFCs” which commits the Parties to “work within the Montreal Protocol to an HFC amendment in 2016 by first resolving challenges by generating solutions in the contact group on the feasibility and ways of managing HFCs”.
“Over the past few days, we have witnessed pressure being put by the A2 parties on the A5 parties to accept the 2020-22 baseline. Lure of early finance, exemption to high ambient countries etc are being used to isolate those countries that favour the 2024-26 baseline,” Bhushan said.
“This sparring threatens to unravel the progress made so far on the HFC amendment. We appeal to countries to spend the remaining three days to resolve important issues rather than fight over non-issues,” he added.
(Vishal Gulati is in Kigali in Rwanda to cover the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)