GLOBAL industry has welcomed the historic agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol to include a worldwide phasedown of HFCs, such as R134a, which was struck in mid-October at talks held in Kigali, the capital of East African nation Rwanda.
The deal was stuck on the sixth day of the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and was the climax of a seven-year negotiation process between the 197 Montreal Protocol parties that previously agreed to phase out the use of ozone-depleting CFC and HCFC products and set the ozone layer on a path to recovery by the middle of this century.
But Europe’s HFC head start under F-Gas legislation is being undermined by illegal imports.
Honeywell fluorine products marketing director for EMEA Patrick Amrhein told Cooling Post he saw a disconnect between EU phasedown legislation and how much HFC was being allowed in by customs authorities in each country.
“Traditional importers like the Netherlands, France, UK, Belgium, these countries are more or less stagnating or are on a small decline,” he said.
”What’s new is that countries such as Poland, Hungary, Greece, the Balkan areas, there you see increases compared to previous years of 140-160 per cent.”
It is also feared the climate change scepticism of US President-elect Donald Trump could derail the HFC phasedown if he withdrew from or ignored the environmental commitments ratified by his predecessors.
Some commentators have looked to history for comfort, citing the 1981 ascent of Ronald Reagan into the White House as generating similar uncertainty over environmental reforms as Mr Trump.
But in the end, Mr Reagan personally authorised US participation in the Montreal Protocol.