Kigali (Rwanda), Oct 14 (IANS) The world is close to striking a deal to phase out super greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air-conditioning, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Erik Solheim said on Friday.
“I am confident that we are very close to make amendments to the Montreal Protocol for a timely phase out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and replacing them with climate-friendly alternatives,” Solheim told reporters in the Rwandan capital where negotiations are on since October 10 to reach a global agreement on an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs globally.
He admitted that there was difference of opinion among the signatories to the Montreal Protocol but it had been sorted out through negotiations.
Regarding India, he said it has shown flexibility for the phase out of HFCs.
“The US, India and the European Union, please be flexible,” urged Solheim, while talking to IANS. He also said that both India and Pakistan had shown willingness to move on the matter.
“This is the fastest action we can have to reduce biggest impact on climate change in a very short time,” he said.
“I am confident that there is sufficient leadership in this conference,” said Solheim, adding “it’s like a marathon, for a long time it seemed very difficult. Last few metres remain”.
“Though difference of opinion exists, there is no difference in the end goal. We all agree the need to phase out HFCs. That signal is sent to the markets.”
Solheim said all discussions on deadlines is well taken. “We need to compromise, flexible, but we maybe see change happening much more early.”
US Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday reached Kigali to attend the meeting’s last day on October 14.
In a major development to phase down HFCs, Indian Minister for Environment Anil Dave on Thursday announced measures to control the emissions of trifluoromethane (HFC-23), a super greenhouse gas.
Declaring that India has taken the lead on climate issues, Dave told IANS: “We are going ahead for releasing the order for incinerating the HFC-23, by-product of HCFC-22 gas.”
Released as a by-product during the manufacturing of a commonly used refrigerant gas, chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22), HFC-23’s global warming potential is 14,800 times more than that of CO2, making it an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
(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)