Friday, November 21, 2014

India, China Said to Drop Opposition to Limits on HFCs in Talks

HFC Consumption.  Click to enlarge.
India and China have reversed course and now support efforts by the U.S. to expand a treaty to cover a new batch of refrigerants tied to climate change, according to participants in the talks.

The shift by the world’s two most populous nations during talks on an accord is seen as a hopeful sign for advocates trying to cut the use of hydrofluorocarbons.  Saudi Arabia is still leading nations that oppose expanding the scope of the treaty, according to participants in negotiations that end tomorrow in Paris.

“India and China have both dramatically shifted their stance,” said Kevin Fay, executive director of a trade group that represents manufacturers of the chemicals or products that use the refrigerants, including Johnson Controls Inc. and DuPont Co.

Environmental advocates say curbing HFC use is important because the gases are more potent agents of global warming than carbon dioxide.  With the growing use of air conditioning in developing nations such as India, phasing out HFCs has the potential to eliminate 90 billion tons of greenhouse gases through 2050, according to the U.S.

Fay and two environmental advocates at the meeting in Paris described the policy change outlined by China and India, which they attributed to agreements President Barack Obama achieved with each country to freeze and then reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.

“President Obama has set the stage for the progress” at the meeting, said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development who is participating in the meeting and confirmed the shift in position of China and India.

Read More at India, China Said to Drop Opposition to Limits on HFCs in Talks

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