MISCELLANEOUS

Difficult to meet new EU target on HCFCs: India

NEW DELHI Oct. 22 . India has expressed reservation over phasing out the production and use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) before the targeted date of 2040, proposed by the European Union (EU).

The consultative committee of Members of Parliament which met here today said that since developing countries, including India, have included HCFC technology as a transitional arrangement and no funding was available for the changeover, it would be difficult to phase out HCFCs as per the accelerated reduction schedule proposed by the EU.

The EU has been trying to accelerate the exercise by bringing in amendments in the Montreal Protocol and citing availability of alternative technologies.

As per the schedule, developing countries were to totally phase out the use and production of HCFs by the year 2040. The meeting also observed that the transfer of technology from the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) to non-ODS was effective in the consumption sector but difficulties were encountered in the production of substitutes for ODS.

Again, as far as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were concerned, the Ministry of Environment and Forests has constituted a special committee to look into the possibility of illegal trade of CFCs to meet the demand, following reduction in the production.

Another reason cited for smuggling or illegal trade was the difference in the price in the domestic and international market. A national strategy for training of customs and other enforcement officials has also been prepared.

Total production and consumption of CFCs is to be carried out by 2010, though India claims to have reduced CFC consumption by 2,165 MT from the baseline consumption of 6,681 MT in 1995-97.

Production and consumption of halons, another ozone-depleting substance, has been phased out. The national phase-out plan of yet another ODS, carbon tetra chloride (CTC) has been approved by the executive committee of the Montreal Protocol at a cost of $ 52 million.

The members were informed that 13 new ozone-depleting chemicals had been identified but not controlled by the Protocol. The UNEP Technology and Economic Panel (TEAP) has been reviewing the production and consumption pattern of these chemicals.

Those who attended the meeting were Ranganath Mosra, Abrar Ahmed, Raj Babbar, Jagannath Mallick, Rupchand Murmu, D.M. Vijaya Kumari, Chandresh Patel and Amarsinh Vasantrao Patil.

The Union Environment Minister, T.R. Baalu, chaired the meeting.

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