India agrees to phase-out HFC gases used in refrigeration in 15 years

Hydrocarbons are used in air conditioner & refrigerator and this sector will grow by 20 percent

GN Staff | April 18, 2015


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With a rider of 15-year grace period, India has finally agreed to phasing down of climate-damaging refrigerant hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) used in air-conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foam.

This surprise decision under United Nations' Montreal Protocol after years of opposition is a "significant step" toward global action to address climate change. This was disclosed by the US state department's climate change envoy on Friday.

The Montreal Protocol calls on countries to phase out their use of HFCs was opposed by India as it focused on curbing the use of ozone-depleting substances. India has argued HFCs should be handled instead under the Kyoto Protocol, which places the responsibility only on developed countries to make greenhouse gas cuts.

Air conditioner and refrigerator use has been projected to grow by up to 20 percent per year in India, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency, putting it on track to surpass HFC consumption in the United States. Under UPA rule, India was the most vocal opponent to phasing down HFCs under Montreal Protocol, a strategy first proposed in 2009.

India submitted its proposal to the Montreal Protocol headquarters in Nairobi on Thursday, ahead of its working group meeting in Bangkok on April 22-24. India has, however, sought a "grace period" of 15 years to phase down HFCs so that its domestic industries get enough time to switch over to technically feasible and economically viable alternatives.

President Barack Obama and State Department climate change negotiators had long pressed India to agree to phase out HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, to which every country in the world is a member.

Obama discussed phasing-down HFCs with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a bilateral meeting in India in January.

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