United States Signals Interest in Potential Ways to Address Hydrofluorocarbons
On May 4, 2009, the State Department wrote to the Secretariat of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, expressing interest in a proposal that calls for amending the Montreal Protocol to phase down consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs pose no threat to the stratospheric ozone layer but pose a significant threat to the climate system because they are potent greenhouse gases. As countries phase out consumption and production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) under an agreement reached in 2007, they are likely to increase their use of HFCs unless suitable alternatives are found.
The U.S. letter welcomes discussions of this issue that will take place at a workshop hosted by the Montreal Protocol Secretariat in Geneva in July 2009. It further notes the significant climate benefits that could be achieved by limiting consumption and production of HFCs -- on the order of 66,000 to 85,000 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO2e) by 2050. Still, the U.S. letter acknowledges that further analysis is needed and further exploration of the implications of such an approach for the negotiations currently underway to develop a post-2012 climate regime.
The text of the U.S. letter is available at: http://www.state.gov/e/oes/rls/other/2009/122599.htm.