In April 2015 the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) in the framework of the Montreal Protocol took place in Bangkok, where political decision makers from around the globe gathered to discuss progress on the worldwide phase-out of ozone-depleting substances
Very much on the agenda was global action on HFCs. Although the topic remains very controversial, progress was made, with India submitting its own phase-down proposal, and it is now clear that the vast majority of developing and developed countries are in favour of a phase-down of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.
Parties agreed to continue inter-sessional work on HFCs with a view to establishing a contact group at the next OEWG meeting in Paris in July.
The OEWG was preceded by a 2-day workshop to discuss challenges in view of alternatives for HFCs in various applications from commercial and industrial refrigeration to stationary and mobile air-conditioning.
Training & education, standards & building codes, and the availability of alternatives in high ambient temperatures were the key challenges noted across all applications.
EPEE’s Director General Andrea Voigt, as well as several members, participated as speakers in several panel discussions during the workshops on refrigeration, air-conditioning, and cross-cutting issues
EPEE also organised a side-event dedicated to global action on HFCs, where the EU and Japanese phase-down approach was presented, together with US industry initiatives and Australian activities.
The main message communicated was that the industry has experience, solutions, and a solid track record.
Global action on HFCs is both feasible and achievable, but a flexible policy approach, adapted to different regions of the world (taking into account economic growth and climate, amongst others) and time is needed to make it happen.
Ray Gluckman, of Gluckman Consulting, presented trends in view of the future use of refrigerants in the EU, where industry is supportive of the phase-down.
It remains a challenge, but one we are convinced can be overcome.
If you have any questions, please do contact the EPEE Seceretariat.