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Montreal Protocol OEWG 32 Concludes Without Agreement on HFCs

27 July 2012: The 32nd meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 32) of the parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) considered two proposals to amend the Montreal Protocol related to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs): the first by the Federated States of Micronesia; and the second by the US, Canada and Mexico. Parties were unable to reach consensus on establishing a contact group on the proposals.

In introducing its proposal, the US explained that it is to implement a comprehensive phase-down of HFCs by adding HFCs as a controlled substance to the Montreal Protocol. He noted the proposal is similar to the proposal submitted in 2011, but includes two revisions: the initial compliance dates have been moved back one year and the number of step-downs have also been reduced by one; and the proposal now recognizes the by-product controls being undertaken under the UNFCCC's Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Introducing its proposal, the Federated States of Micronesia highlighted it has been tabled for four years, that the increase in HFC consumption and production was caused by the phase-out of HCFCs under the Protocol, and that it would be “immoral” to pass the problem to the UNFCCC. He urged parties to avoid development models based on consumption.

Parties were unable to reach consensus on establishing a contact group on the proposals, with India, Cuba, China, Brazil and others expressing concern that HFCs were outside the ambit of the Montreal Protocol. OEWG 32 agreed to forward the amendment proposals, in square brackets, to the 24th Meeting of the Parties (MOP 24) scheduled to take place in November 2012.

At OEWG 32, delegates considered several issues arising from the 2012 Progress Report of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP), including: a review of nominations of essential-use exemptions for 2013 and 2014; a review of nominations for methyl bromide critical-use exemptions for 2013 and 2014; and methyl bromide use for quarantine and pre-shipment (QPS). Parties also discussed the treatment of ozone depleting substances (ODS) used to service ships, a TEAP report on additional information on ODS alternatives, the evaluation of the Protocol's financial mechanism, and TEAP nomination and operations processes.

OEWG 32 convened in Bangkok, Thailand, from 23-27 July 2012. [IISD RS Earth Negotiations Bulletin Coverage] [OEWG 32 Website]