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CSE says Montreal Protocol starts on a positive note
Narendra Ch | 02 Nov 2015

The resumed thirty-sixth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on "Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer" which is a continuation to the previous conference held in Paris was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on 29 and 30 October 2015. The parties made tangible progress towards reaching a mandate for possible contact group and are close to finding a constructive path forward.

The informal meetings were mainly targeted at resolving the difference in opinion between various parties over the financing mechanisms and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC) management in the terms of reference of the contact groups. The parties will continue discussions in the Twenty-Seventh Meeting of the Parties which began on Sunday, November 1, 2015. The first three days of the meeting, from November 1 to 3, will constitute the preparatory segment of the meeting, while the following two days, November 4 and 5, will constitute the high-level segment of the meeting.

After more than 6 years of discussions contact group has been finally formed and a resolution will be passed on the last day of MOP to make it official. Contact group will be discussing the challenges and look for solutions in phasing out HFCs before discussing the amendment to the Montreal protocol to phase down HFCs.

HFCs are not ozone depleting substances but are greenhouse gases with very high global warming potential. Like carbon dioxide, they cause global warming - only that a tonne of HFC causes thousand times more global warming than a tonne of carbon dioxide. The whole discussion in the conference was steered towards forming a contact group which will help in finding solutions in phasing out of HFCs.

The contact groups have started the process of negotiations and are expected to start discussing the various concerns parties have and find solutions in the next couple of days. After the concerns are discussed the contact group will look into four proposals which are put forward by different countries to phase down HFCs by Europe, America, Island states and India which will discuss in detail and will try to come to an agreement on a final proposal. While each proposal has enumerated their respective advantages, what is required is a standard set of indicators to judge how appropriate they are in addressing the issue of climate change.

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), the only non-governmental organization to have come up with a proposal to phase out HFCs, has suggested an equitable division of HFCs in its proposal as a way out to break the deadlock between the issues that the current proposals cover.

"CSE welcomes the move to form a contact group and believes this is the time to leapfrog to natural alternatives instead of following the chemical treadmill. CSE believes that the only equitable solution to the phasing out HFCs is to make the developed countries phase out HFCs with immediate effect and provide developing countries technology and financial requirements for leapfrogging to energy-efficient and low-GWP(global warming potential) technologies," said Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of CSE. 

The contact groups formed will start discussing various proposals put forward by the countries and start negotiating the phasing down of HFC in the current session.