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Global Action

A global phase-down of HFCs at the Montreal Protocol is the largest, fastest and most cost- effective climate change mitigation option currently available

By achieving an international HFC phase-down, it is possible to prevent 100 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents in direct emissions and up to another 100 billion tonnes of CO2 through energy efficiency, reducing indirect emissions by 2050. The HFC phase-down could also prevent up to 0.5oC of warming by 2100, thereby helping to close the emissions gap and limit global warming below 2oC.

A phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) at the Montreal Protocol would rid the world of HFCs in the largest, fastest and most cost-effective mitigation option currently available. HFC-free refrigerants and equipment are available to phase-out these chemicals and we must start now to protect our climate. The Montreal Protocol has already phased-out 98% of all ozone depleting substances and has the institutions in place to phase-down HFCs without delay.

Montreal Protocol

The Montreal Protocol, often referred to as the world’s most successful environmental treaty, was created in 1987 to eliminate the use of the chemicals that were discovered to be destroying the ozone layer. However, as a result of phasing-pout ozone depleting chemicals, HFCs were commercialized by the Montreal Protocol, which is why the Montreal Protocol has a duty to eliminate HFCs so that it will not have saved the ozone layer at the expense of the global climate.

In a landmark decision, in November 2015, the 197 Parties of the Montreal Protocol at the 27th Meeting of the Parties agreed unanimously to the “Dubai Pathway on HFCs,” which commits the Parties to “work within the Montreal Protocol to an HFC amendment in 2016.” Read more about our work at the Montreal Protocol and its institutions here.

Kigali Amendment

In October 2016, the 28th Meeting of the Parties adopted the Kigali Amendment on HFCs to which commits the world’s nations to significantly reduce consumption and production of HFCs. The Kigali Amendment could avoid emissions of well over 70 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) by 2050. The Kigali Amendment, which enters into force on January 1, 2019 mandates a global phase-down of HFCs to about 15 per cent of current levels of consumption. With the adoption of the Kigali Amendment, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol have joined the urgent global effort to prevent dangerous anthropogenic climate change.

The Kigali Amendment will significantly contribute to the goals contained in the Paris Agreement “to pursue efforts to limit the [average global] temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius” as well as directly support the decision within the Paris Agreement to enhance near-term mitigation. All countries have committed to legally binding targets which mandate gradual reduction in HFC consumption and production. Developed countries will begin HFC phasedown in 2019 while developing countries will begin in 2024.

UNFCCC

EIA works with the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to convince the international community to endorse a global phase-out of the production and use of HFCs under the framework of the Montreal Protocol, while advocating that the UNFCCC also take action on HFC emissions in all country pledges and actions. We worked to remove HFC-23 (an HFC with a global warming potential of 14,800 times that of CO2) destruction credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to the Kyoto Protocol, see our report Two Billion Tonne Climate Bomb for more information.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) is a global effort committed to protecting the climate and improving air quality, focused on reducing short-lived climate pollutants. The CCAC works to unite governments, civil society, and private sector, to work on reducing short-lived climate pollutants across sectors. EIA works with other partners in CCAC to address the rapidly growing HFC emissions.

Objectives

  • Expose and prevent illegal trade in synthetic chemicals
  • Successful implementation and enforcement of the Kigali Amendment to achieve a swift global phase-down of HFCs
  • Increase collaboration between policymakers, civil society, and the private sector

Recent Reports

EIA 2018 Impact Report
09/09/2019
In 2018 the Environmental Investigation Agency continued to confront the greatest environmental threats facing the world today. The EIA team pursued, documented and exposed the activities of syndicates that threaten endangered species, damage the climate and ozone layer, and drive the trade in timber stolen from the world’s most important remaining forests.
Scheduled Extinction: Our Last Chance to Protect the Threatened African Mukula Trees
08/15/2019
Scheduled Extinction: Our Last Chance to Protect the Threatened African Mukula Trees

Recent Press Releases

BAN-boozled: New report exposes institutionalized timber trafficking in Ghana
07/30/2019
BAN-boozled: New report exposes institutionalized timber trafficking in Ghana
California Green Lights Incentive Program to Reduce HFCs
06/14/2019
This week California’s legislature approved a 2019-2020 budget providing $1 million to create an incentive program for reducing emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Established by the California Cooling Act (SB1013) passed last year, the program will incentivize adoption of climate-friendly refrigerant technologies, with a mandate to also consider other co-benefits such as energy efficiency and opportunities for increasing recovery, reclamation, and destruction of refrigerants at end-of-life.

Recent Videos

BAN-boozled: How Corruption and Collusion Fuel the Illegal Rosewood Trade in Ghana
07/30/2019
This EIA investigation found that despite a 5th generation ban placed on the harvest and trade of rosewood (Pterocarpus erinaceus) in Ghana in March 2019 and a CITES appendix II listing that came into force in January 2017, massive illegal logging and export of Ghanaian rosewood to China continues unabated and with impunity.
What are the HFC-free Technologies?
Widespread adoption of HFC-free technologies is cost-effective, energy efficient, and climate-friendly. Read EIA’s report Putting the Freeze on HFCs for hundreds of examples of HFC-free technologies available and in use today.
A Global HFC Phase-down
The October 2016 Montreal Protocol meeting in Kigali, Rwanda yielded a global agreement to phase down HFCs. Now countries must ratify and implement the Kigali Amendment! Read and share EIA's briefing on this great opportunity and obligation to avert climate catastrophe.
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Where are HFCs used?