EU, US and Australian lawmakers give latest outlook on f-gas measures – Part 2

By Klara Skačanová, Jul 25, 2012, 10:30 3 minute reading

Held on 21-22 July in Bangkok, the conference ‘Advancing Ozone & Climate Protection Technologies: Next Steps’ attracted over 400 industry and policy experts. Sharing the experience on policies regulating the fluorinated gases, a number of presentations were given during the first session of the conference. In this second article, summarises the key messages from the presentation provided by the US EPA on SNAP and the growing momentum to take action on HFCs at the interna

Cindy Newberg from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updated participants on the latest developments with the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) programme, which has been extremely busy as the Montreal Protocol milestones in terms of HCFC phase-out requirements help drive technology.

US: new SNAP listings anticipated this month will include several alternatives

After discussing SNAP actions in 2011 such as the approval of hydrocarbons in domestic and stand-alone retail refrigerators she discussed current SNAP reviews. The SNAP programme currently has 15 to 20 active reviews, more submissions are expected, while new listings anticipated this month that will include several alternatives. The EPA is looking at a number of refrigerants across the board. Some are HFCs, some are HFOs, some are non-fluorinated, including hydrocarbons and CO2. The Agency is also looking at a variety of end-uses, with those moving fairly quickly (final determinations before end of the year) including:
  • Residential AC
  • Vending machines
  • Retail food refrigeration

1st US HFC-free store using NH3/CO2; “the challenge is the second one”

Ms Newberg also informed participants of the GreenChill Partnership in the context of which the US EPA partners up with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions, lessen impacts on ozone layer and climate through transitioning to lower refrigerant charge sizes, reducing leaks but also adopting green refrigeration technologies and best practices. Of the 7,300 stores included in the programme (about 20% of the industry), Ms Newberg highlighted the case of the first US store using entirely non-fluorinated refrigeration, innovative ammonia/CO2 cascade system. Ms Newberg quoted the retailer saying that “we opened the first store but this is not the challenge, the challenge is the second store” and commented that “we are looking forward to seeing this [second] store opening”.

International action: 108 Montreal Protocol parties favour action on HFCs

Coupled with domestic approaches on f-gases is the international action and more specifically the efforts to amend the Montreal Protocol on Substances the Deplete the Ozone Layer. This international context was reflected in the last part of the US EPA presentation.

Although the Montreal Protocol currently covers only ozone depleting substances, climate protection is reflected in decision XIX/6 as well as the HCFC Guidelines of the Multilateral Fund’s Executive Committee.

Against the backdrop of recent dramatic HFC growth, three North American countries (US, Canada, Mexico) submitted in 2012 anew a proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol. The proposal establishes a baseline and obligations for all countries, while for developing countries it establishes a later schedule and enables financial assistance by the Multilateral Fund (MLF). The North American countries expect that if accepted the amendment would lead to significant climate benefits of over 96 GtCO2eq (2016 through 2050) saved and other co-benefits (energy efficiency by equipment upgrades, better materials).

Before closing her presentation Ms Newberg noted that there is a growing momentum towards addressing HFCs in the Montreal Protocol: a declaration calling for action on HFCs through the Protocol has to date been signed by 108 out of a total of 197 parties. Moreover, UN countries recently supported a gradual HFC phase-down of production and consumption in the outcome document adopted at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.


By Klara Skačanová

Jul 25, 2012, 10:30

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