SWITZERLAND: Attempts to reach agreement on a worldwide phase-down of HFCs again foundered at the latest Montreal Protocol meeting in Geneva although some progress was made.
Parties at last week's meeting in Geneva engaged in some substantive discussions on the HFC proposals, and it was agreed to undertake a detailed study of the alternatives to HFCs. No consensus on the HFC proposals was reached, however, with a small number of countries blocking progress on the basis that action should be taken under the United Nations Climate Convention.
Canada, Mexico, and the United States - and Micronesia have proposed amendments to the Montreal treaty to gradually phase down HFC production and consumption over the next two decades.
The list of countries that want to move forward with an HFC phase down has grown to more than 110 nations but India, China, and Brazil continue to oppose HFC limitations.
Writing on his website, David Doniger of the US environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, revealed that subtle progress was made. This time India and China agreed to permit the formation of a subgroup - a prerequisite to actually negotiating treaty amendments - to discuss possible treaty amendments.
'The Montreal Protocol has missed a golden opportunity to agree action on HFCs at their silver anniversary,' said Mark W. Roberts, EIA International Policy Advisor. 'We expect those countries that blocked progress here to make good on their Rio+20 promise and promote immediate action to initiate the phase-out of HFCs at the forthcoming climate conference in Doha in two weeks.'