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‘Monumental’ deal on HFC at Kigali

At 28th Meeting of Parties at Kigali, Rwanda, the member countries have agreed for three-way deal for different countries:

  1. Richer economies like the European Union, the US and others will start to limit their use of HFCs within a few years and make a cut of at least 10% from 2019.
  2. Some developing countries like China, nations in Latin America and island states will freeze their use of HFCs from 2024.
  3. Other developing countries, specifically India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states will not freeze their use until 2028.

However,

  • China, the world’s largest producer of HFCs, will not actually start to cut their production or use until 2029.
  • India, will start even later, making its first 10% cut in use in 2032.

Criticism

Some observers questioned the concessions made to India and China, suggesting they had weakened the overall impact. The target of cutting global warming by 0.5 degrees may not be realized.

Why so much concern over HFC uses?

Though HFC accounts for only 1-2% of global warming today but

  1. Seeing its Global Warming Potential i.e. 10,000 to 20,000 times that of CO2, and
  2. Increase in its future demand due to global warming, as coolant; are bound to aggravate our concern.

What is India’s position in this regard?

India wanted that

  1. Developed countries must address finance and technology transfer issues before any such deal
  2. Peak date for HFC Reduction Pathway must be at later stage for developing countries.

What was India’s logic behind these demands?

  1. Chemical firms in developed countries hold most of the intellectual property for clean alternatives to HFCs. Manufacturers without their own R&D departments, as in developing countries,
  • Will have to pay higher license fee, or
  • Will wait until the patent expires, or
  • Will have to lose market share overseas.
  1. Moreover, India contributes only less than 2% of HFC, as also other developing countries contribution is still less.
  2. Earlier, India also objected to the inclusion of a GHG like HFC under Montreal Protocol, rather than under Kyoto Protocol.

 

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