India has strongly opposed a move by developed countries not to include three chemicals patented by US-based companies in the list of controlled substances that cause global warming as talks here to phase-down climate damaging Hydrofluorocarbons reached a crucial stage.
India’s demand to include the HFOs (hydrofluoroolefins), one of the main alternatives to HFCs, has now become a bone of contention in the final round of negotiations to amendment the Montreal Protocol to phase down the harmful refrigerant gas.
“What we understand by that 19 HFCs plus three HFOs (Hydrofluoroolefins) which are in Micronesian proposal….. For us all these 22 are in the controlled substances,” India’s lead negotiator Manoj Kumar Singh said at the contact group meeting held at Kigali Convention Centre yesterday.
India made its stand clear on the issue after a high- level US delegation met Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave at India office at Kigali Convention Centre.
India’s stand supported by a group of other developing nations clearly indicates that differences are emerging in what should be the list of chemicals that should be controlled by the amendment to Montreal Protocol to phase-down use of HFCs.
There are 19 HFCs which are in the list of all the parties but three HFCs, which are called as HFOs, are not included in the list of substances to be controlled by the amendment.
These HFOs are new chemicals produced by two companies in the US.
India is proposing to include the name of HFOs in the list of controlled substance. Developed countries including the US, Australia and Canada are not in favour of Indian proposal.
“HFOs which are new patented chemicals are also HFCs and they need to be included in the list to manage environmental impacts and illegal trade in refrigerants. HFOs use HCFC, which is a ozone depleting substance, as feedstock during manufacturing,” Indian climate expert Chandra Bhushan said.
“Also, HFOs breakdown in environment into a toxic and water polluting chemical called as TFAs. So, to understand and ultimately manage the environmental fallout of increasing use of HFOs, regular data needs to be collected. And, this can only happen when HFOs are in the list of controlled substance,” he said.
He also said that listing of these HFOs is important as countries need to have a track of large number of products called blends, that use HFCs and HFOs together, to manage illegal trade in HFCs.
Bhushan, who is also Deputy Director General of the CSE, said in the last few years, DuPont and Honeywell — two big multinational chemical companies of the US — have come up with these patented chemicals and their blends to replace HFCs.
The most prominent among HFOs is a refrigerant called HFO1234yf that can potentially replace the current refrigerant—HFC 134 a—in the automobile air conditioning sector.
Though, HFOs have very low Global warming potential, there are major concerns around the products of its degradation, he said.