Further Climate Action Under Ozone Layer Treaty Must Wait
Countries Unable to Reach Consensus on Best Way to Rid World of Global Warming HFCs
But Progress Made on Other Fronts, Including Destruction of Chemical Stockpiles to Managing Use of Ozone-Damaging Chemicals for Quarantine and Pre-Shipment
Port Ghalib/Nairobi 10 November 2009-Countries meeting under the ozone layer protection treaty made progress on a wide range of issues, including the use of chemicals to kill pests on international commodity shipments up to advancing action to destroy banks of CFCs in old and stockpiled equipment.
But nations could not in the end reach consensus on the high profile issue of whether a group of gases, currently controlled under the international climate agreement, might be better controlled and phased-down under the ozone treaty.
The 21st Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, meeting in the Red Sea town of Port Ghalib, had two amendments before them-one from the Federated States of Micronesia and Mauritius and another from Canada, Mexico and the United States.
These focused on controlling synthetic gases known as hydroflurocarbons (HFCs). Scientists are concerned that if these become the replacement chemicals of choice in products such as refrigeration systems and air conditioners their climate impact could become significant over the coming decades.
Those supporting action under the ozone treaty argue that a commitment to phase-down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol would catalyze action by industry to develop a range of new ozone and climate-friendly alternatives.
But after five days of intense discussions consensus could not be reached and the issue will now come before the UN climate convention meeting taking place in Copenhagen next month.
Several countries at the meeting considered proposed action under the Montreal Protocol on HFCs to be premature in advance of the Copenhagen climate meeting.
Other concerns during the five days of talks circled around the legal aspects of acting to phase-down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol when they are currently controlled under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) emission reduction treaty, the Kyoto Protocol.