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Countries move towards global agreement on super greenhouse gases

The international community moved a step closer to a deal on eliminating hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) at a meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Paris last week.

Despite resistance from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, other countries which formerly opposed formal discussions on measures to curb HFCs displayed a turnaround, with India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar acknowledging the need for action.

Clare Perry, head of climate at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said: “There has been a clear shift in attitudes. We are not seeing the same knee-jerk refusal to discuss HFCs that has held talks up in the past.

“The vast majority of the world’s countries, including all the key HFC-producing states, have accepted the need to do something about HFCs. This meeting has witnessed the start of a process which will continue next year, with a definitive agreement ahead of the Paris 2015 climate meeting a real possibility.” 

Developing countries expressed interest in a new plan put forward by the European Union, which builds on proposals to phase down HFCs tabled by the North American states and Micronesia since 2009.

On Friday 21 November, the European Union’s new Climate Commissioner, Miguel Arias Cañete, announced that the EU is considering submitting a formal proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol in 2015, ahead of talks to agree a global climate deal at CoP21 in Paris.

“The European Union has to step up to the plate,” said EIA Climate Campaigner. “Developing countries will need reassurances on finance and technology before signing up to a deal on HFCs. With world-leading legislation on HFCs in the shape of its F-Gas Regulation, the EU is uniquely positioned to provide guidance to developing countries and market opportunities for innovative technology.'



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