Government’s Big Decision
Preserving Mother Earth
India has consciously chosen a path for environment-friendly and energy-efficient technologies. In a significant move, the Union Cabinet has approved the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer for phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons.
Before moving ahead, let us first understand the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
It is an international environmental treaty that aims at the protection of the ozone layer by phasing out the production and consumption of man-made chemicals which are often referred to as ozone-depleting substances. India became a Party to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer on 19 June 1992 and since then, the nation has ratified the amendments to the Montreal Protocol.
With the present approval of the Cabinet, India will be ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for the phase-down of Hydrofluorocarbons. Under the Kigali Amendment, Parties to the Montreal Protocol will phase down the production and consumption of Hydrofluorocarbons, commonly known as HFCs.
Now, let’s understand more about Hydrofluorocarbons
The stratospheric ozone layer protects humans and the environment from harmful levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, therefore, hydrofluorocarbons were introduced as non-ozone depleting alternatives. HFCs do not deplete the stratospheric ozone layer but they have high global warming potential ranging from 12 to 14,000, which have an adverse impact on climate.
In October 2016, recognizing the growth in the use of HFCs, especially in the Refrigeration and air-conditioning sector, the Parties to the Montreal Protocol reached an agreement at the 28th meeting held in Kigali, Rwanda. The Parties to the Montreal Protocol decided to add HFCs to the list of controlled substances and approved a timeline for gradual reduction of HFCs by 80-85 per cent by the late 2040s.
Why is HFC phasedown important?
HFC phasedown is expected to prevent greenhouse gas emissions. It would also help in preventing climate change and would immensely benefit the people. Hydrofluorocarbons phasedown will also help in preventing the emission of up to 105 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent to greenhouse gases. It would further avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100 while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
Through the adoption of low-global warming potential and energy-efficient technologies, HFC phasedown will also lead to energy efficiency gains and reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.
Let’s learn about the Implementation strategy and targets for HFC phasedown.
After required consultation with all the industry stakeholders, the National strategy for phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons will be developed as per the applicable phase-down schedule for India by 2023. To allow appropriate control of the production and consumption of HFCs, amendments to the existing legislative framework of the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules will be done by mid-2024.
Besides environmental gains, to maximize the economic and social benefits, HFCs phase-down implementation will also involve synergies with ongoing programmes and schemes of the Government of India.
In addition, there would be scope for domestic manufacturing of equipment as well as alternative non-HFC and low-global warming potential chemicals. This will help in enabling the industry to transit towards low global warming potential alternatives.
India is constantly working towards healing the stratospheric ozone layer and climate change mitigation, thus, creating a better planet for all.