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India ratifies Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

Context:

Five years after it fought hard to successfully negotiate favourable terms for itself, India decided to ratify a key amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (International Treaties & Agreements, Environmental Pollution & Degradation)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Conventions related to Ozone depletion
  2. Kigali Amendment
  3. About India’s ratification of Kigali Amendment and its significance

Conventions related to Ozone depletion

  • The 1985 Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was an international agreement in which United Nations members recognized the fundamental importance of preventing damage to the stratospheric ozone layer.
  • The 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and its succeeding amendments were subsequently negotiated to control the consumption and production of anthropogenic ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) and some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
    • Ozone depletion is caused by human-related emissions of ODSs and the subsequent release of reactive halogen gases, especially chlorine and bromine, in the stratosphere.
    • The Montreal Protocol’s control of ODSs stimulated the development of replacement substances, firstly hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and then HFCs, in a number of industrial sectors. While HFCs have only a minor effect on stratospheric ozone, some HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs).
    • ODSs include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), bromine containing halons and methyl bromide, HCFCs, carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), and methyl chloroform.
    • These ODSs are long-lived (e.g., CFC-12 has a lifetime greater than 100 years) and are also powerful GHGs.
  • The adoption of the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will phase down the production and consumption of some HFCs and avoid much of the projected global increase and associated climate change.

Kigali Amendment

  • In 2016, 197 countries with the United States’ leadership, agreed to amend the Montreal protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in Kigali/Rwanda.
  • The Kigali Amendment aims for the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by cutting their production and consumption.
  • Given their zero impact on the depletion of the ozone layer, HFCs are currently used as replacements of hydro chlorofluorocarbons(HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), however they are powerful greenhouse gases.
  • The amendment has entered into force on 1 January 2019 with a goal to achieve over 80% reduction in HFC consumption by 2047.
  • The impact of the amendment will avoid up to 0.5 °C increase in global temperature by the end of the century.
  • It is a legally binding agreement between the signatory parties with non-compliance measures.
  • The amendment has divided the signatory parties into three groups-
    1. Group I –consists of rich and developed economies like USA, UK and EU countries who will start to phase down HFCs by 2019 and reduce it to 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
    2. Group II –consists of emerging economies like China, Brazil as well as some African countries who will start phase down by 2024 and reduce it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.
    3. Group III –consists of developing economies and some of the hottest climatic countries like India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia who will start phasing down HFCs by 2028 and reduce it to 15% of 2024-2026 levels till 2047.
  • The Technology and Energy Assessment Panel (TEAP) will take a periodic review of the alternative technologies and products for their energy efficiency and safety standards.

About India’s ratification of the Kigali Agreement and the Significance

  • The 1989 Montreal Protocol is not a climate agreement. It is instead aimed at protecting the earth from Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODSs) like the ChloroFluoroCarbons (CFCs), that were earlier used in the air-conditioning and refrigerant industry. 
  • The United States, China and India are in separate groups of countries, with different time schedules to phase out their HFCs and replace them with climate-friendly alternatives.
  • India has to reduce its HFC use by 80% by the year 2047, while China and the United States have to achieve the same target by the year 2045 and 2034 respectively.
  • India will complete its phasedown of HFCs in four steps from 2032 onwards with a cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 80% in 2047.
  • India became a party to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in June 1992 and since then has ratified the amendments to the Montreal Protocol. India has successfully met the phase-out targets of all the Ozone Depleting Substances as per the Montreal Protocol Schedule.
  • India is one of the first countries in the world to launch a cooling action plan in 2019 (20-year ‘India Cooling Action Plan’, or ICAP). This comprehensive plan is aimed at reducing cooling demand, enabling refrigerant transition, enhancing energy efficiency and better technology options with a 20-year time horizon. The signing of the Kigali Amendment is a cue for the markets to make a faster transition from HFCs to cleaner gases.
  • The ratification would signify that India is ready to compete in the market for low-Global Warming Potential GWP (climate-friendly) refrigerants, which will spur domestic innovation and attract international investments.
  • The decision would pave the way for India to achieve its climate change mitigation goals and cooling commitments. India is among a small group of countries on track to meet its climate commitments under the Paris Agreement.

-Source: Indian Express

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