Greenpeace Calls on Montreal Protocol Signatories to Follow EU F-Gas Lead

Press release - 17 July, 2009
Greenpeace calls on Montreal Protocol signatories to follow the EU and Switzerland’s lead opening the discussion to search for alternatives to phase out highly global warming gases used as refrigerants and known as HFC(1) a type of F-gas, during a meeting of the Montreal protocol in Geneva this week.

Greenpeace calls on the signatories of the Montreal Protocol to take action today, and start limiting the emissions of f-gases by adopting a presumption against HFCs clause which would state that HFCs shall not be used in any application where there are safe and environmentally better alternative technologies available. Furthermore, Greenpeace urges governments to stop funding HFC based projects in developing countries when there are available proven and environmentally safer alternatives.

"By stopping the funding to these projects, vast amounts of unnecessary greenhouse releases would be avoided" said Paula Tejón Carbajal, Greenpeace International F-gases coordinator. "We must build on current bans and phase-outs underway in Europe and expand such efforts to all developed and developing countries quickly."

The Montreal Protocol state that HCFCs should be phased out by 2020 for industrialised countries and by 2030 for developing countries.

"There are HFC-free alternatives to HCFCs in most applications. However, the commercial and political influence of the chemical industry means that there is a significant risk that these harmful gases will dominate the global market for HCFC replacements," said Paula Tejón Carbajal

A study published (2) in June at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the US shows that these gases are more of a global warming threat than previously thought. The paper projects that HFC emissions will rise rapidly in coming years and decades, threatening to effectively cancel out greenhouse gas reductions made through energy efficiency and clean energy deployment. F-gases could add another 45% of greenhouse emissions into the atmosphere, essentially wrecking efforts to stop global warming.

To ensure that this does not happen, Greenpeace believes that there must be a cooperative effort between the UN Climate treaty (Kyoto and upcoming Copenhagen talks) and the Montreal Protocol. HFC emission reductions should remain theresponsibility of the UN Climate Treaty. The Montreal Protocol should act as akey facilitating body for limiting the production and consumption of these F-gases.

VVPR info: Paula Tejón Carbajal, Greenpeace International Business Advisor & F-gases Coordinator, +31 64 618 4248

Alexandra Dawe, Greenpeace International communications officer, + 31 629001146

Greenpeace international Press Desk, +31 20 718 24 70

Notes: 1)HFC’s were invented to replace ozone-depleting chemicals, but have a very high global warming potential. Scientists have projected that we need to cap greenhouse gas emissions now, then rapidly reduce emissions by mid century to stabilize the atmosphere and avoid dangerous climate change. Uncontrolled HFC consumption and emissions growth would make it much more difficult to reach those goals. Yet alternatives for virtually every application of HFC’s exist today.

2) The was authored by scientists from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, United States government agencies NOAA and EPA, along with a scientist from the chemical company Dupont.

3) Greenpeace has been campaigning for a complete phase out of F-gases since 1990 and has proven that they are not needed by introducing natural refrigerants in domestic refrigeration with the introduction of Greenfreeze in 1993.