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From 1 to 5 August 2011, the 31st meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group
(OEWG 31) of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
will take place in Montreal, Canada.
 
 
 
 

THE EVENT

On Monday, 1 August 2011, the thirty-first session of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (OEWG 31) was opened by OEWG Co-Chair Ndiaye Cheikh Sylla (Senegal). Marco González, Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, called 2011 a “milestone” year for the Montreal Protocol, noting it marks the 20th anniversary of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol (MLF) and a year of assessment of compliance with control measures under the Protocol. González applauded the successes of many parties in meeting 2010 compliance targets for the consumption and production of CFCs, halons, and carbon tetrachloride (CTC).

Participants heard a report from the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel’s (TEAP) task force on the 2012–2014 replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, and agreed to establish a contact group on the issue, to be chaired by Jozef Buys (Belgium) and Laura Berón (Argentina). In the afternoon, delegates broached discussion of two proposed amendments to the Montreal Protocol relating to HFCs, one submitted by Canada, Mexico and the US, and another submitted by the Federated States of Micronesia.

In plenary on Tuesday, OEWG 31 delegates resumed discussions on proposals to amend the Protocol, specifically on the possible addition of controls on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) presented its 2011 Progress Report, and delegates asked questions on progress reports by several Technical Options Committees (TOCs), along with membership changes on assessment panels, essential use nominations and other matters. In the afternoon, delegates discussed issues related to exemptions from Article 2 of the Montreal Protocol, for ongoing uses of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). Delegates considered essential-use exemptions for 2012 and 2013, laboratory and analytical use exemptions, issues related to process agents and their phase-outs and alternatives to ODS for exempted feedstock and process-agent uses. They also discussed methyl bromide, including nominations for critical-use exemptions and quarantine and pre-shipment uses.

On Wednesday, OEWG 31 addressed a variety of issues in plenary, including: quarantine and pre-shipment uses of methyl bromide; proposed amendments to the Montreal Protocol; the nomination process for the TEAP; additional information on ODS alternatives; and feedstocks and process agents. Participants considered ODS consumption related to ships; global laboratory and analytical uses of ODS; the environmentally sound management and destruction of ODS; key challenges facing the methyl bromide phase-out in Africa; and the status of Nepal relative to the Copenhagen amendment to the Montreal Protocol. In the late afternoon, they discussed a draft decision submitted by the US, Canada and Mexico on the phase-out of HFC-23 by-product emissions.

Participants at OEWG 31 gathered on Thursday in a morning plenary to, among other things: hear presentations on a synthesis report of the Montreal Protocol Assessment Panels; discuss potential areas of focus for the assessment panels’ 2014 quadrennial reports; and continue exchanges on the proposed amendments to the Montreal Protocol. Also in plenary, Michael Church (Grenada), MOP 21 President, announced that he had received confirmation of a term extension for Executive Secretary Marco González from the Office of the UN Secretary-General. In anticipation of MOP 23, to be held in Bali, Indonesia, a delegate from Indonesia presented an overview and slideshow showcasing his country’s cultural and biological diversity.

On Friday morning, delegates met in plenary to hear reports from meetings of contact groups on feedstocks and process agents, ODS alternatives, TEAP nomination procedures, ODS in ships and MLF replenishment. They agreed to forward a number of draft decisions, in brackets, to MOP 23 for further negotiation. The plenary also heard back on bilateral discussions on the Russian Federation’s essential use nominations for CFC-113 in aerospace and on CFCs for MDIs, and delegates asked the CTOC and MTOC respectively, to look intersessionally at these issues to help parties make informed decisions at MOP 23. The contact group on MLF replenishment then met to finalize its work and delegates also held informal consultations on the proposed amendments on HFCs.  On Friday afternoon, delegates met in plenary to hear the report from the Co-Chairs of the contact group on MLF replenishment and to adopt the report of the meeting. Co-Chair Sylla gaveled the meeting to a close at 5:16pm.


CANADA AND CLIMATE CHANGE

Climate Change Impacts – what the IPCC 4th Assessment Report has found:

- Break up of the sea ice on western Hudson Bay occurs ~3 weeks earlier than in the early 1970s. Polar bears area coming ashore earlier with reduced fat reserves (a 15% decline in body condition), fasting for longer periods of time, and having reduced productivity. Estimates suggest that the Western Hudson Bay population has declined from 1200 bears in 1987 to fewer than 950 in 2004. Polar bears will face a high risk of extinction with warming of 2.8°C above pre-industrial [Box 4.3]. Nutritional stresses related to longer ice-free seasons in the Beaufort Sea may be inducing declining survival rates, smaller size, and cannibalism among polar bears [1.3.1.1].

- Decline for a substantial portion of northern forest, possibly related to warmer and longer summers, whereas tundra productivity is continuing to increase [1.3.6.1].

- Droughts: 29% decrease in annual maximum daily streamflow due to temperature rise and increased evaporation with no change in precipitation (1847- 1996) in the south [1.3.2.1]. Drought has been more frequent and intense in the western parts[14.2.1].

- Earlier spring snowmelt has led to longer growing seasons and drought, especially at higher elevations, where the increase in wildfire activity has been greatest. Warmer May-August temperatures of 0.8°C since 1970 are highly correlated with area burned. Burned area has exceeded 60,000 km2/yr three times since 1990, twice the long-term average. [Box 14.1]

- The vegetation growing season has increased an average of 2 days/decade since 1950, with most of the increase resulting from earlier spring (influence of greenhouse gases, sulphate aerosols, and natural external forcing) [14.2].

- 1 to 2 week earlier peak streamflow due to earlier warming-driven snowmelt 1936- 2000 [1.3.2.1]. Rising temperatures will diminish snowpack and increase evaporation, affecting seasonal availability of water  [14.2.1, 14.4.1, 14.4.6, Boxes 14.2, 14.3]

- 19% of studied shoreline in the Manitounuk Strait is retreating, in spite of land uplift, due to thawing of permafrost (1950-1995) [1.3.3.1]

- Increased thermokarst erosion at the Arctic Ocean & Beaufort Sea coasts due to climate warming (1970-2000 relative to 1954- 1970) [1.3.3.1].

- Bioclimatic taiga- tundra ecotone indicator 12 km/yr northward shift (due to increased temperature) [1.3.5.2].

- Trend detected in water temperature in the Fraser River in British Columbia for longer river sections reaching a temperature over 20°C, which is considered a threshold for degrading salmon habitat [3.2]

- Arctic and sub-arctic ecosystems (particularly ombrotrophic bog communities; a form of wetland) above permafrost were considered likely to be most vulnerable to climatic changes, since impacts may turn arctic regions from a net carbon sink to a net source [4.4.6].


RELATED MATERIALS

 

FAST FACTS

9, 984, 670 km2
Total Area
34,615,000 hab
Population
Ottawa
Capital
544,091
Annual CO2 emissions
1.80%
Percentage of Global Total