February 17, 2014
HALON ALTERNATIVES RESEARCH CORPORATION
On Friday, February 14, the State Department and EPA hosted a stakeholder meeting to begin discussions for 2014 on the issue of HFCs in the Montreal Protocol. Participants included Janet McCabe, Sarah Dunham, Drusilla Hufford, and Cindy Newberg of EPA, along with Dan Reifsynder and John Thompson of State. There were about 40 attendees representing industry and environmental NGOs.
It appears that the United States, Canada and Mexico will again propose an amendment by the mid-May deadline to add HFCs to the Montreal Protocol and slowly phase down their production. The amendment is likely to be similar to the 2013 proposed amendment, although changes could be considered to the schedule and baseline. Any proposed amendments would be discussed at the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) meeting in July and at the Meeting of Parties (MOP) in November.
At the 2013 MOP the formation of a formal contact group to begin negotiating the HFC amendments was again blocked by a small group of countries including India, Brazil, and Saudi Arabia. However, the US feels that progress was made during 2013, including support from African nations, approval of a TEAP study on alternatives and finance, and supporting statements from the G-20, China, and the Arctic Council. In addition, there is hope that the EU agreement on an HFC phase down and EPA plans to limit certain uses of HFCs under SNAP will help build momentum for the amendment by showing that developed countries are willing to take national actions to limit the use of HFCs.
Other highlights from the meeting are presented below.
- The Alliance expressed support for an international HFC phase down under the Montreal Protocol that has extended dates, technology review, banking of unused allowances, and HCFC/HFC destruction credits.
- A technology workshop on HFC management will be held on July 11-12 prior to the OEWG meeting.
- A possible Middle East HFC technology workshop is being discussed.
- There is consideration of restarting the work of the India/US Task Force on HFCs that has been on hold for a few years.
These issues will be discussed in more detail at the March 6 HARC meeting.