In a landmark step to combat climate change, about 200 nations including India struck a legally-binding deal after intense negotiations to phase down climate-damaging HFCs that have global warming potential a thousand times more than carbon dioxide. Negotiators and policymakers held a series of meetings at Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, holding deliberations to iron out differences concerning the amendment to the Montreal Protocol, to reach the Kigali Amendment to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The agreement reached by 197 parties on the amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is expected to prevent a global temperature rise of up to0.5°C by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer. According to the amendment adopted by the nations, developed countries will reduce HFC use first, followed by China, along with a large number of countries. India and nine other countries of South and West Asia will follow suit. Overall, the agreement is expected to reduce HFC use by 85% by 2045. The amendment will enter into force on January 1, 2019, provided that at least 20 instruments of ratifi cation, acceptance or approval of the amendment have been deposited by states or regional economic integration organisations that are parties to the Montreal Protocol. “We cared for our development, industrial interest and at the same time the interest of the country,” Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave, who attended the high-level segment of the conference, said. Under the amendment, three diff erent schedules have been set for countries to freeze and then reduce their production and use of HFCs. The developed countries, led by the US and Europe, will reduce HFC use by 85% by 2036 over a 2011-13 baseline. China, which is the largest producer of HFCs in the world, will reduce HFC use by 80 per cent by 2045 over the 2020-22 baseline. India will reduce the use of HFCs by 85 per cent by 2047 over the 2024-26 baseline. Developed countries have also agreed to provide enhanced funding support to developing countries. Unlike the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Montreal Protocol amendment is legally binding.
(Source: The Hindu BusinessLine, 15 October 2016)