Workshop Addresses HFC Management

UNEP OZONE13 July 2014: The Workshop on Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Management provided an opportunity for focused and in-depth discussions on key issues related to HFC management. Sessions addressed four topics, namely: technical aspects; legal aspects; finance and technology transfer; and policies and measures. The workshop was convened in response to discussions held at the twenty-fifth Meeting of the Parties (MOP 25) to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol).

Over 300 participants from governments, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academia and industry attended the workshop, which was held from 11-12 July 2014, in Paris, France.

The workshop led to a number of conclusions and identified issues for further discussion. On technical aspects, participants concluded that: many HFC alternatives exist with low or no global warming potential (GWP), but most are flammable and require careful risk management; some sub-sectors in refrigeration, air conditioning and foam do not yet have low or no-GWP commercial alternatives; countries with high ambient temperatures pose a unique challenge; and factors affecting timelines for adopting alternatives include commercial viability, regulatory approvals, standards and codes. The workshop also noted the need for demonstration projects, as well as for technical support to build technical skills for handling new refrigerants.

On legal aspects, participants: recognized the synergies between the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Kyoto Protocol, and the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and its Montreal Protocol, underlining that they are complementary; acknowledged that once political will exists to address HFCs, issues can be resolved; and stressed the importance of sending the right signals to industry. They identified further issues for discussion, including defining high- and low-GWP ranges for alternatives, application of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR), and defining the respective capabilities of the climate and ozone regimes.

On finance and technology transfer, workshop conclusions noted the importance of: addressing energy efficiency in any HFC phase-down regime; assessing barriers to technology transfer involving HFC alternatives; demonstration projects; and effectively scaling up alternative technologies. Participants also underscored difficulties of providing financing without clear control targets.

On policies and measures for HFC management, industry participants identified the focus of manufacturers as conversion from high- to low-GWP alternatives, while for the service sector, standards, good maintenance and servicing practices were emphasized. Participants also supported a holistic approach to energy efficiency in financial mechanisms, and highlighted risks involved for “early movers” choosing technologies to replace HFCs.

The workshop was held immediately prior to the 34th Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol. [Workshop on HFC Management Website] [IISDRS Briefing Note]