India’s step in HFC decision is significant: US climate change envoy

U.S. Envoy for Climate Change Stern speaks during a news conference at the COP17 of the UNCCC in DurbanAfter India proposed an amendment to the United Nations’ Montreal Protocol, Todd Stern, the U.S. State Department’s climate change envoy, has welcomed India’s surprise decision to agree to cut down the use of a potent greenhouse gas, saying it is a “significant step” towards global efforts to address climate change. India’s amendment calls for a 15-year transition period for leading countries to reduce their uses of HFCs in appliances.

India had for long opposed to reduce HFCs under the protocol focusing on curbing the use of ozone-depleting substances. It had argued that under the Kyoto Protocol, HFCs should be handled by the developed countries for making greenhouse gas cuts. On April 17, India turned to leading countries to cut down their use of HFCs: gases used in air conditioner, refrigerator and other insulating forms that are responsible for greenhouse gas emissions.

Under the Kyoto Protocol, many countries have found it challenging to negotiate on the climate agreement, as there have been disagreements over sharing the burden of emission cuts.

Under the Montreal Protocol, the US President Barack Obama and the State Department climate change negotiators have long asked India and China to agree to phase out HFCs. After long opposition, China finally agreed to do it in 2013.

Uses of refrigerator and air-conditioner have been projected to grow up to 20 percent each year in India. According to the Environment Investigation Agency, The

current growth rate will surpass HFC consumption in the United States.

“It signals that they share our concern about the growth of HFCs and their impact on the climate system, are in agreement that the Montreal Protocol is the right forum

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