Relevance: Understanding India’s ratification to Kigali Agreement
Synopsis: The recent announcement of Government of India to ratify the Kigali agreement is expected to bring various benefits including strengthening India’s global position in fight against climate change
The government’s decision to ratify the amendment to the Montreal accord on phasing out ozone-depleting and environmentally-injurious substances has come at a time just before the UN 26th summit (COP 26). The conference on climate change to be held in November at Glasgow.
- India has been a party to the adoption of the amendment to the Montreal Protocol at Kigali (Rwanda) in 2016 that called for gradual elimination of the hazardous chemicals commonly used as cooling agents.
- These substances mostly fall in the category of hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs) which are injurious to the earth’s ozone layer that protects it from the harmful ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun
- Though HFCs were introduced as non-ozone depleting alternatives to the relatively more hazardous Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), they were found to emit highly potent greenhouse gases (GHGs)
- Thus, Kigali agreement now aims to replace all these chemicals with safer substitutes.
- A national strategy to discontinue the use of HFCs is proposed to be crafted by 2023 in consultation with the various stakeholders.
- This would involve a four-phased cutback schedule aimed at a cumulative reduction of 10% by 2032, 20% by 2037, 30% by 2042 and 85% by 2047.
- This structure is in line with the target of eliminating HFCs by the late 2040s
Benefits of HFC phaseout
- The elimination of HFCs at the global level is estimated to reduce GHG emissions equivalent to around 105 million tonnes of carbon dioxide
- It would help avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius rise in temperature by the end of this century, even while allowing the ozone layer to repair itself.
- Benefits to India:
- For India, the notable gain would be the opening of the door for indigenous production of equipment as well as cooling agents, which are non-HFC and have low global warming potential.
- The next generation refrigerants and refrigeration technology is expected to involve the use of relatively safer chemicals like hydro-fluoro-olefins (HFOs) or admixtures of HFCs and HFOs.
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