US, China to Collaborate on HFCs Phase Down

china_us_flag8 June 2013: The US Government has announced that it will collaborate with the Government of China to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). US President Barack Obama and China's President Jinping Xi reached the agreement during their recent retreat.

The two countries will “work together and with other countries through multilateral approaches that include using the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs, while continuing to include HFCs within the scope of UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol provisions for accounting and reporting of emissions," according to the US Government.

HFCs are greenhouse gases (GHGs) used as replacement chemicals for ozone-depleting substances (ODS) being phased-out of refrigerants and foams under the Montreal Protocol. A range of climate and ozone-friendly alternatives to HFCs already exist, according to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

For the last four years, the US, Canada and Mexico, with support from many Montreal Protocol parties, have been proposing a phase-down in the production and consumption of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. The proposed amendment would gradually reduce consumption and production, control byproduct emissions of HFCs in all countries, and require reporting in these areas. Up until now, China has strongly opposed this proposed amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and with the Governments of India and Venezuela, questioned whether the Montreal Protocol is the correct forum in which to address HFCs.

The announcement by the two countries was welcomed by UNEP. [UNEP Press Release] [UN Press Release] [US Government Press Release] [IISD RS Coverage of Montreal Protocol MOP 24]