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Ozone OEWG 31 Considers HFC Phase-Down Proposal

8 August 2011: The 31st meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 31) of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer considered two proposals - one by the US, Canada and Mexico, and a second by the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) - to amend the Montreal Protocol to address hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The meeting convened in Montreal, Canada, from 1-5 August 2011, and could not agree to formally consider either proposal in contact group discussions. As such, views were exchanged in plenary and in an informal group. Parties will resume consideration of the proposed amendments at the 23rd Meeting of the Parties (MOP 23), scheduled to convene in November 2011.

Related to the HFCs proposal, Parties also considered a proposal from Switzerland requesting the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) to, inter alia, prepare a report for OEWG 32 including: information on the cost of low- and high-global warming potential (GWP) alternatives to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), and their suitability in high-temperature conditions; data on production and consumption of HFCs; and the technical and economic feasibility of reducing reliance on HFCs. No agreement on the draft decision was reached. Key areas of disagreement among Parties included: preambular paragraphs referring to the centrality of the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol in addressing climate change issues; removal of references to HFCs; and replacement of references to HFCs with the term “high-GWP substances.” Delegates will consider the decision again at MOP 23. [IISD RS Meeting Coverage] [OEWG31 Website]