India decides to ratify Kigali amendment to phase down HFCs; What is Kigali amendment to Montreal Protocol?
India, following the footsteps of the United States and China, has decided to ratify the Kigali amendment to the 1989 Ozone saving Montreal Protocol negotiated five years ago.
Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol enables the phase-out of the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The decision by India to ratify the amendment was taken at a Union Cabinet meeting on August 18, 2021. The country also said that it will draw up a national strategy for the phase-down of HFCs by 2023, in consultation with all the industry stakeholders.
The latest announcement by India comes close to the similar decisions by China and the United States, which are the world’s largest producers and consumers of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
What is Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol?
The Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol was made in 2016. The amendment has been named after Rwanda Capital where it was negotiated. The amendment enables the phase-out of the hydrofluorocarbons, a set of chemicals with a capacity to warm the planet.
The Kigali amendment, enabling the phase-out of HFCs, was seen as one of the most significant breakthroughs in the global efforts to fight climate change.
The hydrofluorocarbons, the set of 19 gases that are used extensively in the refrigerant and air-conditioning industry, are known to be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in their ability to cause global warming.
This instrument is therefore crucial in achieving the target of restraining the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial times.
As already pointed out by the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the average temperature of Earth has already risen by about 1.1 degrees Celsius.
What is Montreal Protocol?
The 1989 Montreal Protocol is not a climate agreement but instead, it aims at protecting the earth from ozone-destroying chemicals such as Chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs, that were used earlier in refrigerant industry and air conditioning.
The widespread use of Chlorofluorocarbons caused a hole in the Ozone layer of the atmosphere, which further allowed some harmful radiations to enter the Earth. They were also considered potential health hazards.
The Montreal Protocol led to the replacement of CFCs with Hydrofluorocarbons which do not destroy the Ozone layer. However, HFCs were later found to be extremely potent in causing global warming, so basically HFCs were solving one problem but were contributing to another.
However, the theses cannot be eliminated under the original provisions of the Montreal Protocol which was meant to phase out the ozone-destroying chemicals only. The introduction of the Kigali Amendment enabled the Montreal Protocol to mandate the elimination of Hydrofluorocarbons as well.
Where does India stand on its HFCs production and consumption?
Under the Kigali Amendment, China, United States, and India stand in separate groups of countries, with different time schedules to phase out their Hydrofluorocarbons and replace them with climate-friendly alternatives.
India has to reduce its HFCs use by 80% by the year 2047, while the US and China have to achieve the same target by the years 2034 and 2045 respectively.
The Government of India while informing about the latest decision of ratifying the Kigali Amendment, said that the existing domestic laws that govern the implementation of the Montreal Protocol will be amended by the middle of 2024 in order to facilitate the HFC phase-down.
The reduction by India in the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons has to begin only by 2028.