US, India to Convene Joint Task Force on Hydrofluorocarbons

23 February 2011: During a workshop on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) convened by the US and India on 18 February 2011, the two countries agreed to convene a joint task force to examine approaches to reduce the use of climate-damaging HFCs.

The task force will consider challenges faced by the current phase-out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol), in particular the fact that that HFCs, adopted as alternatives to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS), have no ozone-depletion properties yet have high global warming properties.

The Task Force is expected to develop options for reducing global HFC use, with a view to encouraging the development and commercialization of low global warming potential alternatives. The options are expected to provide certainty to the business community about the future of applicable chemicals and technologies.

The Task Force will include representatives from both governments, as well as from industry, scientists and technical experts. It is expected to issue a report in August 2011 to describe the status of HFC alternatives and examine policy aspects of various approaches that would support a global reduction in HFC use, including national, industry-to-industry, and international options, such as bilateral approaches between the US and India and the use of existing international agreements. The report is also expected to contribute to a broader, regional meeting on HFCs and the 31 st meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, which will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, from 1-5 August 2010. [US Press Release]