I would like to update the House on the outcome of the recent United Nations Montreal protocol negotiations in Rwanda.
I am very pleased to report that a deal was agreed among the 197 parties to the protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbon greenhouse gases (HFCs) over the next three decades.
The Montreal protocol, agreed in 1987, is already seen as one of the most successful environmental treaties ever agreed, having phased out 98% of the ozone depleting substances that would have caused major damage to human health, agriculture and the wider environment. That included chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which were used in products such as refrigeration, air condition and aerosols. As a result, the ozone layer is showing the first signs of recovery.
The replacements for CFCs and HCFCs—hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)—while not damaging the ozone layer, do still have a global warming potential thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide. The growth of refrigeration and air conditioning in developing countries means HFC use could have amounted to as much as 11 % of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
HFC alternatives are increasingly available and the UK had, before this weekend’s agreement, already taken the lead in committing to cut usage by 80% by 2030—amongt the most ambitious phase downs in the world. The deal in Rwanda means the rest of the world is now following suit, bringing major benefits for the climate and levelling the playing field for UK businesses.
It is estimated that this deal will reduce cumulative emissions by the equivalent of between 60 and 70 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050, which equates to the output of around 600 coal fired power stations operating between now and 2050. In turn that is likely to avoid close to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century, making it possibly the single biggest step the world could have taken in achieving the Paris climate agreement goal of keeping temperatures well below 2 degrees.
The UK negotiating team played a central role in the discussions, influencing the strategy of like-minded countries to achieve an ambitious outcome and chairing the legal drafting group, which worked ceaselessly to turn the political agreement into legal text, then clarified and defended it through the final night of negotiations.
The key elements of the deal are as follows.
Developed countries will meet the following phase down commitment:
By 2019, production and consumption of HFCs will be reduced by 10% relative to the amount of HFCs produced or consumed in the years 2011 to 2013, plus an additional allowance of 15% of the baseline used for their phase out of HCFCs.
By 2024, the amount will be reduced by 40% and then by 70% by 2029, 80% by 2034 and finally 85% by 2036.
All developing countries, except India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, Iran and Iraq will meet the following phase down commitment:
By 2024, production and consumption of HFCs will be limited to 100% of the average amount of HFCs produced or consumed in the years 2020 to 2022, plus an additional allowance of 65% of the baseline used for their phase out of HCFCs.
By 2029, this amount will be reduced by 10% and then by 30% in 2035, 50% in 2040 and finally 80% by 2045.
Production and consumption established before 2020 will be eligible for financial support from developed countries to help with the transition to low global warming alternatives.
India Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, The United Arab Emirates, Iran and Iraq, will meet the following phase down commitment:
By 2028, production and consumption of HFCs will be limited to 100% of the average amount of HFCs produced or consumed in the years 2024 to 2026, plus an additional allowance of 65% of the baseline used for their phase out of HCFCs.
By 2032, this amount will be reduced by 10% and then by 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and finally 85% by 2047.
Production and consumption established before 2024 will be eligible for financial support from developed countries to help with the transition to low global warming alternatives.
Certain Gulf countries and others with high average temperatures will be able to exempt large scale air-conditioning from the phase down requirements if they believe suitable alternatives are not available for their climates.
There will be a review of the availability of technologies which use alternatives to HFCs in 2022 and every five years thereafter to inform any necessary adjustments to the phase down schedule. There will also be a review four to five years before 2028 specifically to consider whether those countries which have to cap HFC production and use by 2028 need a compliance deferral of two years due to faster HFC growth than anticipated.