In A Bid To Reduce Consumption Of HFCs, Bhutan Ratifies Kigali Amendment To The Montreal Protocol

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The Kigali Amendment requires the phasing down on the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Verdant fields of a village in Bhutan. (Source: Abdullah Mahmud 1311)

 

By Nima Kuensel

Joining the global movement to mitigate climate change, the National Assembly of Bhutan adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer on 16 January.

Following ratifications by 65 countries of the 197 parties which are part of the Montreal protocol, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal protocol has been implemented since January 1 this year.

The house unanimously moved the motion to adopt the amendment, one day after the assembly’s deliberation on January 15.

What is the Montreal Protocol?

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty adopted in 1987 to protect the ozone layer. This can be achieved by phasing out the production of ozone-depleting substances (ODSs).

ODSs result in increased UV radiation reaching the earth, causing higher incidences of skin cancers and eye cataracts. ODSs also have negative impact on the immune systems, watersheds, agricultural lands and forests. 

 

 

Harvest time in Paro. Bhutan aims to be 100% organic. 

Photo: Druk Asia

 

The Agriculture Minister, Yeshey Penjore convinced the house on the need to adopt the Kigali Amendment and the benefits of the ratification.

The Lyonpo said that the ratification of the convention would help the country to strengthen the capacity of its customs, technicians and industries through technical assistance. It will also help to fortify projects related to technical training institutes and improve Bhutan’s technical skills.

“The Kigali Amendment was the fifth Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer adopted during the 28th Meeting of Parties held in Kigali, Rwanda in 2016,” the Minister said.

The amendment requires the phasing down on the use of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), bringing into control both the production and consumption of HFCs.

The hazards of Hydrofluorocarbons to the environment

The HFCs are frequently used as substitutes for Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). Although they are non-ODS, they are still regarded as powerful greenhouse gases that have significant global warming potentials, according to a report from the National Environment Commission.

“The HFC used in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps, propellants in aerosols, fire protection fluids, solvents and blowing agents to manufacture insulating foam are thousand times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide,” the report states.

The amendment is also expected to drive innovation and create new economic opportunities in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector.

The HFC phase-down implementation is expected to begin from 2024 till 2045. By the end of 2045, Bhutan is expected to reduce HFC consumption and production by 85 percent.

The ratification would restrict the trade of products that contain HFCs as provisioned by the protocol, which would benefit the country.

 

 

Glacier waters of the Rinchenzoe La, the highest pass on the Lunana trail, at an altitude of 5,269m. Like all passes in Bhutan, it is adorned with prayer flags, invoking deities to provide protection and safe passage to travellers.

Photo: Facebook/His Majesty king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck

 

All plans and projects related to the implementation of the amendment would be supported by the concerned international agencies.

The importance of educating the public against buying products which contain HFCs

While acknowledging the need to endorse the amendment as part of the global movement on climate change, Panbang Member of Parliament (MP), Dorji Wangdi said that people need to understand the benefit of not consuming products made using HFCs. It is essential to educate them on alternative refrigeration and air conditioning methods.

Khatoed Laya MP, Tenzin added that the easy availability of refrigerators and air conditioners across the border at cheaper cost poses high risk on the implementation of this amendment.

“Awareness on the need for people to stop buying products containing HFCs from across the border is important,” he said.

With the country moving into the ‘phase down’ mode, the lack of more desirable non-HFC alternatives is a cause of concern.

Bhutan also need to be cautious of illegal trade by being more vigilant at the customs of the bordering towns.

The global implementation of the Kigali Amendment is expected to prevent up to 80 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent of emissions by 2050.

Fulfilling this objective will make a significant contribution to the Paris Agreement which aims to limit global temperature rise to well below 2°C.

 

This article first appeared in kuensel and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.

 


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