Kigali Agreement Ratification

Topic

Kigali Agreement Ratification

 

Context
Recently, the Union Government approved the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on phasing down climate-damaging refrigerant Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
• It comes close on the heels of similar decisions by the United States and China, the world’s largest producers and consumers of HFCs. 122 countries had ratified the Kigali Amendment by the end of July 2021.

 

About
• The United States, China and India are in separate groups of countries, with different time schedules to phase out their HFCs and replace them with climatefriendly alternatives.
o India has to reduce its HFC use by 80% by the year 2047, while China and the United States have to achieve the same target by the year 2045 and 2034 respectively.
o India will complete its phasedown of HFCs in four steps from 2032 onwards with a cumulative reduction of 10% in 2032, 20% in 2037, 30% in 2042 and 80% in 2047.
o Amendments to the existing legislation framework, the Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Rules to allow appropriate control of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons to ensure compliance with the Kigali Amendment will be done by mid-2024.

Important Facts about Kigali Agreement
• After coming into force in 1989, the Montreal Protocol has undergone many amendments.
• The Kigali Amendment is the 8th amendment.
• It happened during the 28th Meeting of Parties when the 197 member countries signed the agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol.
• It is so named because it happened in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda in October 2016.
• According to the terms of the Amendment, the signing countries are expected to decrease the manufacture and usage of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by about 80- 85% from their baselines until 2045.
• This will curb global warming (by arresting global average temperature rise to 0.5 degrees Celsius) by the year 2100.

Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol:
• The Kigali Amendment aims for the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)by cutting their production and consumption.
o The goal is to achieve over 80% reduction in HFC consumption by 2047.
o Given their zero impact on the depletion of the ozone layer, HFCs are currently used as replacements of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in air conditioning, refrigeration and foam insulation, however they are powerful greenhouse gases.

o Under the amendment :
▪ Developed countries will reduce HFC consumption beginning in 2019.
▪ Most developing countries will freeze consumption in 2024,
▪ Some developing countries including India with unique circumstances will freeze consumption in 2028.
o The plan also provides financing to certain countries, to help them transition to climate-friendly alternatives.
o With the Kigali Amendment, the Montreal Protocol has become an even more powerful instrument against global warming.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
Hydrofluorocarbons are organic compounds that contain fluorine and hydrogen atoms.
• They are the most common kind of organofluorine compounds.
• They are specifically manufactured, unlike other greenhouse gases which are mostly waste/byproducts.
• HFCs are used as replacements for CFCs and HCFCs.
• They are used in air conditioning and as refrigerants.
• Even though HFCs do not cause ozone layer depletion, they are super greenhouse gases. They cause global warming.
• Their potential to cause global warming is a thousand times more than other GHGs such as methane, carbon dioxide, etc.
• Examples: HFC-23, HFC-134a

 

Kigali Agreement Important Features
The Kigali Agreement is significant because it addresses the vital question of HFCs.
HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases and to mitigate climate change, countries must strive to reduce and gradually phase out their production and usage. Hence, the Kigali Agreement assumes significance. The important features of this agreement are briefly described below.

1. It is a legally binding agreement between the signatories. And, there are noncompliance measures to ensure its implementation.

2. It sets different targets for countries depending upon the states of development, different socio-economic constraints, and varying technological and scientific capacities.
3. The Kigali Agreement upholds the principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities.
4. The agreement classifies the signatory parties into three as per the phase-down schedules to freeze and reduce the production of HFCs.
o The first group consists of developed countries, led by the US and the European Union countries, that would have started the phase-down of HFCs by 2019, and reduce the level to 15% of 2012 level by the year
2036.
o The second group consists of developing economies such as China, Brazil, and also some African States that will start the phase-down by 2024 and decrease it to 20% of 2021 levels by the year 2045.
o The third group (in which India is placed) consists of developing economies and also some of the hottest nations, that will start the phasedown by 2028 and reduce the level to 15% of 2024-26 levels by the year 2047. Examples: Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia.

 

A5 Group 1A5 Group 2A2
Baseline2020-20222024-20262011-2013
FormulaAverage HFC consumptionAverage HFC consumptionAverage HFC consumption
HCFC65% baseline65% baseline15% baseline*
Freeze20242028
1st step2029 – 10%2032 – 10%2019 – 10%
2ndstep2035 – 30%2037 – 20%2024 – 40%
3rd step2040 – 50%2042 – 30%2029 – 70%
4th step2034 – 80%
Plateau2045 – 80%2047 – 85%2036 – 85%
* For Belarus, Russian Federation,
Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan 25%
HCFC component of baseline and different
initial

Significance:
• This important instrument is crucial to achieving the target of restraining the increase in global temperatures to 2 degree Celsius from pre-industrial times.
▪ As pointed out by a recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the average temperature of the planet has already risen by about 1.1 degree Celsius.
o The collective action is expected to prevent emissions of upto 105 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent of greenhouse gases helping to avoid up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
o Because HFCs were not ozone-depleting, they were not controlled substances under the Montreal Protocol. They were part of the problematic greenhouse gases whose emissions are sought to be curtailed through climate change instruments such as the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and the 2015 Paris Agreement.
▪ But the Montreal Protocol has been a far more effective and successful agreement than the climate change instruments. It has already resulted in the phase-out of 98.6% of ozone-depleting substances. The remaining 1.4% are the HCFCs that are in the process of being transitioned.

Kigali Agreement and India
India is a signatory to the Kigali Agreement. India consumes only 3% of HFCs and so, it has agreed to a lenient schedule compared to other nations like the US (consumes 37%) and China (consumes 25%).
• According to the treaty, India should start phase down by 2028 and cut HFC emission by 15% of 2024-26 levels by the year 2047.
• Even though this is the easiest schedule compared to the other groups, considering India’s ambitious ‘Make in India’ mission, even this is difficult.
• Since ours is a developing economy, there are financial implications of the Kigali amendment in India.
• If the country is to entirely give up HFCs, more investment is to be done on research and development on alternatives.
• Being a tropical country, air conditioners and refrigerators are used extensively in many regions, and their use is only increasing. There is a huge demand for cooling appliances.
• If companies are to invest more in R&D, or even in acquiring patents, product prices are likely to go up, which will, in turn, cause the market to lose its customer base.
• Despite challenges in implementing the agreement, India had announced domestic action on HFC-23 (trifluoro-methane), a super greenhouse gas, taking into account the environmental concerns.