India on Tuesday played a crucial role in the ongoing negotiations on the Montreal Protocol by favouring two baseline years for bringing down the consumption of HFC by the developing countries — provided the developed world “agrees to reduce its consumption by 70 percent by 2027”.
India, at the 28th meeting of the Parties to the 1989 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, also demanded transparency and more clarity for the allocation of funds to help developing countries for research and development for smooth technological transition without any delay.
Putting forth the case strongly, India’s lead negotiator Manoj Kumar Singh, Joint Secretary with the Ministry of Environment and Forests, at a formal meeting of contact groups said India proposed two baseline years for the developing countries to freeze their consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.
The baseline year, he said, should either be 2024-26 or as early as 2020-22.
“But the developed world should have 70 percent reductions by 2027,” he said.
In the past, India, a major player in the ongoing negotiations, had proposed a baseline for developing countries as average consumption of HFCs in 2028-30.
The baseline is the maximum quantity of HFCs that a country can consume in a year. Freeze year is the year in which its baseline consumption has to be reached. After that, the countries have to start reducing HFC consumption from the baseline.
India’s proposal has received favourable response from both developed and developing countries.
Likewise, India also sought China, the world’s largest HFC producer, to take more responsibility by pledging to cut its production and consumption earlier than other developing countries. China is likely to agree to 2020-22 as the baseline period, officials involved in the negotiations said.
Manoj Kumar Singh said there should be more openness and fairness in the allocation of the multilateral fund to be used for smooth transition from HFCs by the developing nations.
Ahead of the Kigali negotiations, 19 global foundations together contributed $53 million and other $27 million came from a few countries for the multilateral fund to be used for early transition from HFCs by the developing nations and directed towards energy efficiency efforts.
India demanded an open discussion on this fund and how it will be used.
For smooth transition to developing new technologies indigenously, there is a huge financial burden on India — both for the industry and the consumers.
Delegates from nearly 200 countries are attending the Kigali meeting.
An agreement to freeze HFCs as early as 2025-26 to eventually globally eliminate the use of HFCs is likely to happen on October 14, the last date of the meeting.
Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave is reaching Kigali on Wednesday for participating in the ministerial negotiations a day later.
Experts say though HFCs do not harm the ozone layer, they have a high global warming potential.
Their elimination will ultimately help avoiding an up to 0.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century and will significantly contribute towards the global goal of staying well below two degrees.
The Montreal Protocol was designed to protect the ozone layer by reducing the production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances. It was agreed to on September 16, 1987, and entered into force on January 1, 1989.
Since then it has banned the use of several ozone-depleting substances, including chlorofluorocarbons, which were replaced by HFCs.