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Australia kicking Montreal Protocol goals

Ozone-depleting substance phaseout in Oz ahead of developed world

Australia has taken a kicking for environmental performance lately, with stalled investment in renewable energy and climate change policy labelled as embarrassing, but this country should at least be proud of its performance when it comes to meeting its obligations under the Montreal Protocol.

HCFC imported to Australia by year excluding HCFC 22
HCFC imported to Australia by year excluding HCFC 22

What’s more, VASA members and the refrigeration, and air conditioning industry at large can be proud for their key role in the successful reduction in the use and release of ozone-depleting substances to atmosphere.

“As one of the early countries to ratify the Montreal Protocol, Australia continues to be a leader in the phase out of ODS,” reads a report recently published by the Federal Department of the Environment.

“In many cases, Australia is well ahead of the Protocol requirements. Australia’s approach has been based on a cooperative partnership between industry, community, and all levels of government.”

Through a series of graphs, the report goes on to show how Australia has met or exceeded all its CFC and HCFC phase-out obligations under the Montreal Protocol.

HCFC 22 imported to Australia by year
HCFC 22 imported to Australia by year

Australia is also on target to largely phase out HCFC consumption by next year, four years of Montreal Protocol targets, due to an accelerated phase-out plan adopted in 1996.

Phase-out of HCFCs in Australia compares well to other developed nations (under the Montreal Protocol, developing nations did not have to start phasing out HCFCs until a freeze on baseline levels began in 2013, before a 10 per cent reduction to imports and production began this year).

Because Australia does not manufacture HFCS or CFCs, consumption of these substances means importation. The import of equipment pre-charged with HCFCs to Australia is not controlled by the Montreal Protocol but it was decided to regulate these types of imports under the Ozone Act and they were largely banned in 2010.

Australia HCFC phase-out schedule
Australia HCFC phase-out schedule

From December this year, exemptions to the ban will mostly consist of replacement parts for existing equipment and very low volume imports of pre-charged air conditioning equipment for personal use.

A large part of Australia’s success in reducing the impact of ozone-depleting substances and synthetic greenhouse gases comes from the voluntary product stewardship program that returns used gases to Refrigerant Reclaim Australia for destruction using technology approved by the Montreal Protocol.

The report acknowledges the effect of the Carbon Tax in hugely reducing the amount of HCFCs destroyed by Refrigerant Reclaim Australia since 2011 as the spike in prices encouraged the industry to re-use refrigerant.

It also points to a large amount of CFCs still being sent to RRA for destruction, despite these gases being banned from import since 1996, due to the decommissioning of old equipment.

Download the full report: tinyurl.com/omrdq4a