India’s flexibility on HFC phase-down to aid climate gains

India's proposal was supported by a group of developing countries. In the ongoing negotiations, one group of developing countries, that includes China, seems to favour 2020-22 as the baseline.

By: PTI | Kigali | Published:October 12, 2016 5:29 pm

Supporting India’s proposal of advancing its baseline to 2024-26 for phasing down Hydrofluorocarbons, a leading advocacy group from the country today said the flexibility shown by India at the Conference on Montreal Protocol would help the world double its climate benefits.

As talks by nearly 200 nations progressing in Rwandan capital on phasing down of harmful refrigerant gas reaches mid-way, New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) released an analysis to support India’s proposal as general consensus seems to be emerging within the A5 parties (developing nations) at the Conference here to have a dual baseline for climate damaging gas Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general of the CSE, said the analysis reveals that when India had taken 2028-2030 as it’s baseline, the climate benefit of Indian proposal was only equivalent to 26 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions (Co2e).

“Now by having a new baseline of 2024-26, it is becoming 52 billion tonnes CO2e. Despite showing this much flexibility, developed countries still want India and other developing countries to move to a baseline of 2020-22,” he said.

The baseline is the year against which each country’s consumption of HFCs is capped. Countries will have to reduce HFCs from that capped amount. In the informal meetings held on the sidelines of Open Ended Working Group here, India has agreed to consider preponing the baseline to year 2024-2026 and cut HFC consumption by 10 per cent by 2032, if developed countries agree to freeze their HFC consumption by 2016 and reduce HFC consumption by 70 per cent by 2026 or 2027.

India’s proposal was supported by a group of developing countries. In the ongoing negotiations, one group of developing countries, that includes China, seems to favour 2020-22 as the baseline. The analysis done by CSE shows that quibbling over the 2020-22/ 2024-26 baseline for developing nations is not worthwhile to achieve an ambitious HFC amendment.

“As we enter the last three days of negotiations in Kigali, we see a sense of accommodation and flexibility within parties. However, this positive environment is being sullied due to quibbling by the A2 (developed country) parties about the proposed baseline years of the A5 (developing country) parties,” CSE said.

Bhushan, a climate expert, alleged that pressure is being put by the A2 parties (developed countries) on the developing nations to accept the 2020-22 baseline.

“Lure of early finance, exemption to countries with high ambient temperature etc are being used to isolate those countries that favour the 2024-26 baseline. This sparring threatens to unravel the progress made so far on the HFC amendment,” he alleged.