The importance of ambition in the 2016 HFC phase-down agreement

The stakes are high as the Montreal Protocol undertakes a series of meetings to agree on a global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Following the adoption of the Dubai Pathway on HFCs, Parties are set to negotiate and adopt an HFC amendment to the Montreal Protocol in 2016, the first major test of the Paris Climate Agreement and the global commitment “to pursue efforts to limit the [average global] temperature increase to 1.5° Celsius.” The level of climate ambition in the agreed HFC phase-down will be crucial in determining whether or not Montreal Protocol passes the test. There is no substitute for an ambitious HFC phase-down for both non-Article 5 (non-A5, developed) and Article 5 (A5, developing) Parties. It will not only achieve significant short-term climate benefits but also ensure long-term sustained reductions in HFC consumption. And, importantly, it is significantly less expensive as it will maximise leapfrogging of HFCs altogether and incentivise transitions to final low-GWP solutions rather than proceeding along a slow and costly progression from high-GWP to medium-GWP to lower-GWP HFCs. With as few as five years left at current global emissions levels before the option to limit warming to 1.5°C is lost, there has never been a more critical time for the Montreal Protocol to take the most ambitious path forward…

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