China announced an aggressive target for reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by the equivalent of 0.28 billion tonnes of CO2 by 2015. The State Council released the HFC target to the public on 26 May 2014. It appeared on 15 May 2014 in the 2014-2015 Energy Conservation, Emissions Reduction and Low Carbon Development Action Plan.
China’s announcement follows two HFC agreements President Obama and President Xi negotiated last year, including an agreement to launch formal negotiations to reduce production and consumption of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol. The 20 largest economies also endorsed phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol last year, leaving accounting and reporting in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
On May 16, the Federated States of Micronesia filed a formal proposal to use the Montreal Protocol to phase down production and consumption of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, and the North American countries (US, Canada, and Mexico) filed a similar proposal on May 9.
The US also is taking strong action to reduce HFCs domestically, as is the EU. HFCs are super greenhouse gases hundreds to thousands of times more potent in their warming impact than carbon dioxide, and are the fastest growing climate pollutants in many countries, including the U.S. EU, China, and India. Fast reductions by 2020 could provide the equivalent of up to 200 billion tonnes of CO2 in mitigation by 2050, and avoid up to 0.5°C in warming by 2100.
“China should be congratulated for its strong HFC target, which sets an example for the rest of the world to get on with the job of phasing out HFCs with high global warming potential,” stated Dr. Stephen O. Andersen, former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) liaison to the Department of Defense (DoD) for climate and ozone, and former co-chair of the Technology & Economic Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol. “China’s action makes it increasingly inevitable that HFCs will be phased down under the Montreal Protocol, and soon.”
China’s HFC announcement is here.
IGSD’s Primer on HFCs is here.