Montreal Protocol

What is Montreal Protocol?
It seeks to cut the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances (ODS) in order to protect the earth’s fragile ozone layer. It also aims at phase out HCFCs by 2030. It came into force in 1989 and has been ratified by 197 parties making it universally ratified protocol in UN history. It is also highly successful international arrangement, as it has phased-out more than 95% of the ODS so far as per its main mandate in less than 30 years of its existence.
What is happening under this?
Under the Montreal Protocol, the accelerated phase out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) is underway with a aim to complete phase out by 2030 of these chemicals that result in ozone depletion and aid global warming.  At present, HCFCs are used in various sectors like refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC), polyurethane foam manufacturing and cold chains sectors etc. These sectors are directly related to urban development, agriculture through cold chain, and industrial development.
India is undertaking phase-out of HCFCs through the implementation of HPMP. The Stage-I of HPMP has been already implemented in the country and has successfully met all the ODS phase-out targets, including those of HPMP Stage-I.
India has recently launched HPMP Stage-II for 2017-20123.
In a reversal of its earlier stand, recently India accepted the request of the United States and some other developed countries to work towards phasing out refrigeration chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, under the Montreal protocol on ozone layer protection. Write a critical note on the importance of Montreal Protocol and examine how would India’s policy
change affect industries and consumers in India. (200 Words)
The Montreal Protocol (MP) aims at phasing out ozone depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that were mostly used in air conditioning, refrigerating and foam industry. However, HFCs are not ozone depleting, but have a high global warming potential.

Developed countries led by the US have been lobbying for the inclusion of HFCs within the MP. But this was opposed by developing countries led by India. The latter wanted HFCs to be governed by the Kyoto Protocol, which embodies the principle of “common but differentiated responsibility” (CBDR) unlike the MP which holds developed and developing countries equally responsible for elimination of banned chemicals.
However, India has recently reversed her stand and agreed bring HFCs within MP. This would have the following implications:
  1. Given the absence of CBDR principle from the framework of MP, India will be subject to a targeted and time-bound action on phasing out of HFCs.
  2. India’s refrigeration sector is likely to be adversely impacted as HFCs were its mainstay. They will now have to find an alternative (expensive) technology that too within a short time. Increase in the cost of production will directly increase prices for consumers.
  3. The next generation refrigerants are costly and patent protected by developed countries. Thus cost of this technology transition for India can be expensive.
In order to reduce their undesirable impacts, India has to make a case for full compensation for India and other developing countries for the cost of technology
transition and a longer time frame for this transition
What India has decided?
India has decided to eliminate use of HFC-23, a greenhouse gas (GHG) that harms the ozone layer by 2030.
Points to remember:
  • Indian companies will not be compensated for the costs involved in ensuring that these gases are not released.
  • This move is considered as a major break away from the concept of financial assistance for every action on environment in which India earlier had shown the lead
What is Kigali Amendment?
  • It amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol
  • It aims to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s
  • Under Kigali Amendment, in all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.
What is significance of the Kigali Amendment?
  • The Kigali Amendment amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol that was designed to close growing ozone hole in by banning ozone-depleting coolants like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • Thus, amended Montreal Protocol which was initially conceived only to plug gases that were destroying the ozone layer now includes HFCs responsible for global warming.
  • This move will help to prevent a potential 0.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the end of the century.
  • The Kigali Agreement or amended Montreal Protocol for HFCs reduction will be binding on countries from 2019.
  • It also has provisions for penalties for non-compliance.
  • Under it, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support estimated at billions of dollars globally. The exact amount of additional funding from developed countries will be agreed at the next Meeting of the Parties in Montreal in 2017.
Different timelines under Kigali Amendment
  • All signatory countries have been divided into three groups with different timelines to go about reductions of HFCs.
  • First group: It includes richest countries like US and those in European Union (EU). They will freeze production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. They will reduce them to about 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
  • Second group: It includes countries like China, Brazil and all of Africa etc. They will freeze HFC use by 2024 and cut it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.
  • Third group: It includes countries India, Pakistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc. They will be freezing HFC use by 2028 and reducing it to about 15% of 2025 levels by 2047.
How it is different from Paris agreement?
The Paris agreement which will come into force by 2020 is not legally binding on countries to cut their emissions. The Kigali Amendment is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.
NOTE: HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons) are not Ozone Depleting Substances but still they are included in Montreal Protocol via Kigali Agreement because they are potent global warming substances.

2 thoughts on “Montreal Protocol”

  1. Lord Vorminious

    Paris Agreement is legally binding. Please dont mislead students, your wrong explanations can kill a student’s prelims.

    1. Please read the text carefully. “The Paris agreement which will come into force by 2020 is not legally binding on countries to cut their emissions. ”

      It is legally binding to declare what will a country do to tackle climate change but it is not legally binding to cut emissions in particular. While in Montreal protocol there are specific binding directions to reduce emissions.

      Always cross check before blabbering anything. It will help you in long term.

      All the Best.

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