In an effort to contribute towards the elimination of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), negotiators have rolled out a draft agreement that will offer Ministers a means to avoid the problem of global warming by ‘super’ greenhouse gases such as the HFC. Negotiators state that immediate, significant, and measurable environmental benefits will be achieved only when sound efforts towards phasing out HFCs are made, which in turn, will help alleviate the catastrophic climatic effects that may result from global warming over the next few decades.
HFCs are said to have global warming capabilities far greater than carbon dioxide emissions do. Used in refrigeration and air-conditioning systems, HFCs are a threat to the environment as they have ozone destroying chemicals. The Montreal Protocol, with its mechanisms for technology transfer and funding, is believed to be capable of implementing strategies for completely phasing out HFCs to save the environment.
Studies reveal a 20% rise in the HFCs concentration in the atmosphere annually. By 2050, HFC emissions are forecast to increase by 5.5-8.8 billion tons of CO2 equivalent annually, if left unchecked. This will also have an adverse effect on other GHG reductions achieved under the UNFCCC.
The draft plan is said to present developing nations with an opportunity to To overcome the mistakes of the developed world with regards to global warming, in light of the growing need for refrigeration and air conditioning in the world. A HFC phase-out implementation is estimated to prevent greenhouse gas emissions to the tune of 140 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent between 2013 and 2050.
Durwood Zaelke, who represents the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, urged the UNFCCC’s action at COP15 to phase out HFCs.