WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As the 25th anniversary meeting of the Montreal Protocol ended in Geneva, the Environmental Investigation Agency expressed disappointment that only limited progress was made to agree a phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Widely known as the most successful environmental treaty in history, the Montreal Protocol has taken definitive action over the last 25 years to phase-out ozone depleting substances (ODS). These actions have set the ozone layer on the road to recovery and prevented millions of cases of skin cancer, cataracts and widespread damage. Campaign groups are now insisting the Protocol turns its attention to HFCs, which have been commercialized as alternatives to ozone depleting substances. HFCs are super greenhouse gases with global warming potentials hundreds or thousands of times higher than carbon dioxide.
Of all the options to tackle climate change that are currently on the table, phasing out HFCs represents the most tangible, economic and feasible prospect for immediate global action. Proposals submitted to the Montreal Protocol by the US, Canada, Mexico and Micronesia estimate that a phase-down could result in a reduction of approximately 100 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents by 2050.
"At the Rio+20 Conference earlier this year, the nations of the world agreed support for a 'gradual phase-down in the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons,'" said Clare Perry, Senior Campaigner at the Environmental Investigation Agency. "With such a strong political signal from the international community, there is no excuse for inaction while the world rapidly heads for irreversible climate tipping points."
While Parties 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, with a small number of countries blocking progress on the basis that action should be taken under the United Nations Climate Convention.
"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."
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SOURCE Environmental Investigation Agency