With less than 100 days to go for the UN climate change conference, India on Wednesday approved a plan to phase out hydrofluorocarbons so as help prevent depletion of the ozone layer.
Ozone layer around the earth is most important for protecting humans from the ultra-violet rays of the sun. In view of the changing climatic conditions, with the temperatures rising everywhere, there is an increase in demand for cooling. This results in a vicious circle where emission of high global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants will add to the increasing global warming.
Phasing out of hydrofluorocarbons therefore becomes imperative, for which the government said that the industry producing and consuming hydrofluorocarbons will be phasing them out, as per the agreed schedule and transition to non-HFC and low global warming potential technologies.
“The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved Ratification of Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer for phasedown of Hydrofluorocarbons. There will be a national strategy for phase down of hydrofluorocarbons after required consultation with all the industry stakeholders by 2023,” a government release said.
The Kigali Amendment is called so as the decision to phase out hydrofluorocarbons was adopted by the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on October, 2016 at its 28th Meeting held at Kigali, Rwanda.
The ‘Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer’ is an international environmental treaty for protection of the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of man-made chemicals referred to as ‘ozone depleting substances’ (ODS).
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol has, for the first time, recognised linkages between maintaining and/or improving energy efficiency of RAC equipment with refrigerant transition under the Protocol. India already has a ‘Cooling Action Plan’ wherein, as part of demand side management of cooling energy use, Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) and star rating scheme for room air conditioners are in place in the country and MEPS for room air conditioners are being systematically ratcheted up.
A May 2021 report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) had stated that the Montreal Protocol has proved to be effective for the protection of the ozone layer, and at the same time, has made a substantial contribution to avoiding emissions of powerful greenhouse gases, complementing the global efforts of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
“The Parties to the Montreal Protocol have an opportunity through the Kigali Amendment to further contribute to significant mitigation of climate impacts by improving energy efficiency of refrigeration and air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) equipment during the phase-down of high GWP refrigerants,” it had said.
As per the release, the amendments to the existing legislation framework, the ‘Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules’ to allow appropriate control of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons to ensure compliance with the Kigali Amendment will be done by mid-2024.