Green groups call for deal to cut down super pollutants

Kigali (Rwanda): Environmental groups on Wednesday urged world leaders to come together for an ambitious deal to cut down heat-trapping super pollutants like hydrofluorocarbons and reaffirm their Paris commitment to take steps to tackle climate change.

“A success in Kigali can really raise the bar for greater ambition on global climate action in the years ahead,” said Wael Hmaidan, International Director for the Climate Action Network, in a statement here.

Though heat-trapping substance hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs — the refrigeration and air-conditioning coolants — do not harm the ozone layer, they have a high global-warming potential.

To negotiate amendments to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs to enter a critical stage, nearly 40 Ministers will arrive here on Thursday to attend the 28th meeting of the Parties to the 1989 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to freeze an agreement as early as possible to eventually eliminate the use of HFCs.

“It’s fitting that Ministers will be arriving here at the summit in the coming days because it is their government’s credibility that will be on the line, if we don’t get a good outcome,” Christian Aid’s Senior Policy Officer for Africa Benson Ireri said.

“Vulnerable countries do not have time to wait, the climate is changing fast and phasing down HFCs is something we absolutely must do if we’re going to honour the pledges of the Paris Agreement,” Ireri said.

Avipsa Mahapatra, Climate Campaign Lead with the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: “Although we’ve made progress on the important issue of baselines in the negotiations, time is scarce, and barely three negotiating days remain to reach the ambition necessary to achieve the 0.5 degree contribution to avoided warming that we desperately need.”

Sounding optimistic, Natural Resources Defence Council India representive Bhaskar Deol said: “The technology for transition to energy-efficient and climate-friendly alternatives is already available. As the talks progress, most developing countries are displaying ambition and are ready for a freeze starting in the first-half of the next decade.”

“Developed countries are also supporting early action and pledging adequate funding to developing countries through the Multilateral Fund,” he added.

India on Tuesday played a crucial role in the ongoing negotiations on the Montreal Protocol by favouring two baseline years for bringing down the consumption of HFCs by the developing countries, provided the developed world “agrees to reduce its consumption by 70 per cent by 2027”.

India also demanded transparency and more clarity for the allocation of funds to help developing countries in research and development for smooth technological transition without any delay.