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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 Blog Posts

A Week of Climate Action on HFCs and Cooling
09/17/2018
HFCs used in cooling were a hot topic at the Global Climate Action Summit last week in San Francisco. With momentum building for subnational actors like cities, states, and businesses to drive action forward on climate, we have the opportunity to tackle the issue of how we keep cool without warming the planet - by phasing down superpollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and identifying new approaches to maximize energy efficiency as global demand for cooling increases.
Standards Dialogue Must Continue at Montreal Protocol Meetings
11/16/2017
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Montreal Protocol and a year since finalizing the Kigali Amendment, the landmark global agreement to phase down climate damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Recent Reports

Blowing It: Illegal Production and Use of Banned CFC-11 in China's Foam Blowing Industry
07/08/2018
Information obtained by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) demonstrates conclusively that the use of CFC-11 in China’s rigid polyurethane (PU) foam insulation sector, in particular in the building and construction subsector, is widespread and pervasive.
Smarter Standards: Vital for Kigali Amendment Success
11/16/2017
This report provides updates on the work of key standards bodies relevant to the cooling sector and outlines the climate imperative of modernizing standards for successful implementation of the Kigali Amendment and the ongoing HCFC phase-out.

Recent Press Releases

Global Wildlife Treaty Put to Test by Growing Organized Forest Crime
09/27/2018
Global Wildlife Treaty Put to Test by Growing Organized Forest Crime
A Big Win For Climate As Montreal Protocol's Landmark Kigali Amendment Gets Green Light
11/17/2017
Global efforts to dramatically reduce super greenhouse gases in the fight against climate change saw a major advance today as the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol got the go ahead to crack down on harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
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.
Nearing a Global HFC Phase-down
The October 2016 Montreal Protocol meeting in Kigali, Rwanda is expected to yield a global agreement to phase down HFCs. Read and share EIA's briefing on this great opportunity and obligation to avert climate catastrophe.
Help us mitigate climate destroying gases
Where are HFCs used?