Montreal Protocol – Kigali Amendment (International Law)

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a Protocol to the UNEP Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. The Montreal Protocol is in force, sufficient states have ratified. In the EU bloc, the Montreal Protocol is given effect by an existing EU Regulation on Ozone Depleting Substances. In addition, a separate EU Regulation regulates Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (F-gases).

The Kigali Amendment is specifically focussed on the global phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – powerful greenhouse gases. HFCs account for 85% of present F-gas supply. UNEP has a FAQ here.

HFCs, used mainly in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment, are thousands of times more harmful to the climate than CO2. In response to the rapid growth of HFC emissions, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment in 2016 to reduce gradually their global production and consumption.

The EU has been phasing down HFCs since 2015 (and has a separate EU Regulation on the matter). EU Member States are in the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment individually.

All 197 Montreal Protocol parties agreed to take steps to gradually reduce the production and use of HFCs. The first reduction step to be taken by the EU and other developed countries is required in 2019, while most developing countries will start their phasedown in 2024.

The Kigali Amendment will enter into force on 1 January 2019.

Montreal Protocol parties continue to ratify the Amendment, which has so far been ratified by 60 parties. The parties, listed alphabetically, are: Austria, Australia, Barbados, Belgium, Benin, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Chile, Comoros, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Gabon, Germany, Greece, Grenada, Guinea Bissau, Hungary, Ireland, Kiribati, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Netherlands, Niger, Niue, Norway, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Portugal, Rwanda, Samoa, Senegal, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Vanuatu.

A useful assessment of the EU F-gas regulation dating March 2018 is here.

This highlights the further changes mandated by the Kigali Amendment to implement a HFC licensing system.

BREXIT : the UK has ratified the Kigali Amendment

US : the US has not yet ratified the Kigali Amendment

China : China has not yet ratified the Kigali Amendment

A useful assessment of the US and China current state is here. (Source – here)

HFC Substitutes (Cool Technologies)

HFCs are being phased out.

A wide variety of environmentally superior and technologically proven HCFC and HFC alternatives are available to meet cooling needs.

The Cool Technologies website includes a sampling of companies using natural alternatives in a variety of applications. It was created to demonstrate there is already a wide array of safe and commercially proven technologies available to meet nearly all those human needs formerly met by fluorinated refrigerants.

Cool Technologies is found here.

New F-Gas Regulation is here (EU)

My last post in April on this EU Regulation is here.

The new F-Gas Regulation (No 517/2014) is here. This applies from 1st January 2015, and from this date the existing EU F-Gas Regulation (No 842/2006) is repealed.

Three elements initially stand out:

(1) a longer list of Annex I controlled fluorinated gases,

(2) additional equipment to be leak tested (Article 4),

(3) a lower threshold for leak testing that operates after two years (Article 4).

Subscribers to the Cardinal Tailored EHS Legislation Registers will be Email Alerted nearer the time, and I will post additional posts here on further aspects of this important new EU Regulation.

New F-Gas Regulation (EU)

In November 2012 the European Commission proposed a revision of the F-gas Regulation to tighten its requirements. This followed a review of the adequacy of the Regulation, a public consultation in 2011 and a stakeholder conference in 2012 on options for strengthening EU measures to reduce F-gas emissions in order to contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy.

My post in 2013 is here.

The text of the new EU Regulation (as agreed by the European Parliament, the final stage) is here.

The new Regulation will reduce F-gas emissions by two-thirds of today’s levels by 2030 and ban the use of F-gases in some new equipment where viable climate-friendly alternatives are readily available.

The main change is the introduction of a phase-down measure which from 2015 will limit the total amount of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – the most significant group of F-gases – sold in the EU and reduce their quantities in steps to one-fifth of today’s sales by 2030.

This measure will be accompanied by a number of new restrictions on the use and sale of F-gases in equipment.

Tackling HFC emissions is also a priority of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), which was established in 2012 and of which the European Commission is a member. Also, the G8 countries have recognised the need to act on HFCs.

The new F-Gas Regulation will enter into force (and be immediately applicable through the EU) in May 2014.

Subscribers to the Cardinal Environment Tailored EHS Legislation Registers will have their websystems updated with the new EU F-Gas Regulation in May 2014.

EU F-Gas Regulation (HFCs) Query

Update: Enactment is now expected March 2014. The latest draft may be viewed here.

New EU Regulation is proposed (to replace the existing F-Gas Regulation and cap the total placement of bulk HFCs, in tonnes of CO2 equivalent, on the market in the EU).

The existing F-Gas Regulation will be repealed and substituted for this new EU Regulation. The current provisions of the F-Gas Regulation will continue, adjustments will improve implementation and enforcement by national authorities. Some containment measures will be extended to refrigerated trucks and trailers.

The main new aspect is to freeze the placement of bulk HFCs on the EU market in 2015, followed by initial reduction in 2016, to reach 21% of the levels sold in 2008–11 by 2030.

In particular, the cap mechanism proposes:

(a) new entrants to be permitted;

(b) free quotas to be allocated to companies based on past reporting data, with a reserve for new entrants;

(c) quotas to be transferable;

(d) compliance checking to be the following year, with independent verification of reports;

(c) small quantity exemption to be available.

Recharging of existing refrigeration equipment with a charge size over 5 tonnes of CO2 equivalent with HFC of very high GWP (>2500) will not be permitted from 2020 onwards. The view is there will be more adequate and energy efficient drop-in refrigerants of lower GWP widely available on the market.

Here is the EU law-making procedure file, which identifies March 2014 the next date.

HFC Substitution (EIA Report)

Interesting update by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), an NGO, looking into progress made with HFC substitution.

Here is the 2008 Report into Natural Refrigerants (Proklima International for the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development BMZ). It is a large report and so can be a bit slow to load.

Montreal Protocol

Here is the draft Decision XXV(J) relating to HFCs for consideration at the 25th meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Bangkok, 21-25th October 2013 (page 9 of the UNEP document) – click here to view the pre-session document. We will update this post when more information is available.

Here is the US EPA summary of this submission (on HFCs) which provides background – click here to view the US EPA background document.