One hundred and seven countries came to an agreement in Kigali, Rwanda, on Saturday, to substantially phase out a potent greenhouse gas by 2045 and move to prevent a potential 0.5 C rise in global temperature by 2050.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a family of gases that are largely used in refrigerants in home and car airconditioners. They, however, substantially worsen global warming. On late Friday, India, China, the United States and Europe agreed on a timeline to reduce the use of HFC by 85% by 2045.
The details of the agreement are yet to be made public and India’s Environment Ministry is yet to detail India’s road map for achieving this goal. From what The Hindu has learnt so far, India hasn’t committed to a fixed date by which it will start reducing its HFC consumption but has agreed to do so after the developed countries would have reduced their consumption by 70 per cent, of what they did in 2011-13.
The developed countries, led by the US and Europe, according to a CSE statement, will reduce the HFC use by 85 per cent by 2036 over a 2011-13 baseline. China, which is the largest producer of HFC in the world, will reduce its use by 80 per cent by 2045 over the 2020-22 baseline and India will reduce the use of HFC by 85 per cent over the 2024-26 baseline.
Baselines refer to the average consumption in a period from which future reductions are calculated. The developed countries have also agreed to provide enhanced funding support to the developing countries.
Earlier this week, India announced domestic action on HFC-23 (trifluoro-methane), a super greenhouse gas with a GWP of 14,800, which is produced as a byproduct of HCFC-22 (chloro-difluoro- methane). Currently, HCFC-22 is the most commonly used refrigerant in India.
India has mandated five manufacturers — who fully control the domestic market — to capture and incinerate HFC-23 so that it is not released into the atmosphere. This action will eliminate release of HFC-23 equivalent to about 100 million tonne of Carbon dioxide emissions over the next 15 years.
Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi, said, “India’s proposal would avoid HFC emissions equivalent to 70 billion tonne of carbon dioxide.”