HTML _ 94-788 - Montreal Protocol Negotiations: Should the HCFC Phaseout Be Accelerated in 1995?
12-Oct-1994; David E. Gushee; 18 p.

Abstract: When the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer convene their Annual Meeting in October 1995 in Vienna, one of the issues that will be on their agenda will be whether or not to accelerate the phaseout schedule for hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). HCFCs have ozone depleting potentials of 1.6%, (HCFC-123) to 11% (HCFC-141b) of those of the CFCs. Whereas the CFCs are scheduled to be phased out in the developed world by 1996 and in the rest of the world by 2010, the HCFCs will be capped in 1996 at essentially current levels and then reduced in several steps to zero in 2030. Several countries, encouraged by some environmental groups, have been lobbying in Protocol working groups to generate support for accelerating the HCFC dates, with full phaseout as early as 2003 in some proposals. Their concern is that, even though the Protocol is working, the problem of ozone depletion will continue to worsen over the next decade, and HCFCs have high instantaneous ozone depleting potentials so that reducing HCFC use over the short term would have a significant benefit. On the other hand, even a successful acceleration would have little effect in the short term, when the depletion problem is projected to be at its worst, because of the time needed to initiate such a program. Further, the specialist groups reviewing the status of substitutes for CFCs have concluded that, for some uses, particularly within the refrigeration sector, the only proven substitutes are HCFCs. To require the accelerated phaseout of the only proven alternatives for these particular uses would, many believe, cause the developing world to delay its transition from CFCs, which it is allowed to continue to use for a while, until the next generation of alternatives has been developed and proven. Such a delay in moving away from use of CFCs, were it to occur, would cause more ozone depletion than would be saved by the reduced use of HCFCs. Also, the increased legal production of CFCs for the developing world would increase two counterproductive incentives: delays in the developed world in retrofitting or replacing existing CFC-using equipment and a black market in CFCs. This report finds that the concerns have merit, while the benefits of reduced HCFC use would likely be minimal, even if realized. [read report]

Topics: Stratospheric Ozone

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