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Vale Patrick Mclnerney

Patrick Mclnerney, a significant figure in Australian environmental diplomacy and particularly the management of refrigerants, passed away less than two weeks before his 61st birthday.

Patrick Mclnerney with colleague Annie Gabriel (photo by IISD/ENB | Mike Muzurakis)

For years, Patrick was a stalwart presence at Montreal Protocol meetings, leading Australia’s delegation with his well-considered and balanced contributions to what remains the most effective and successful global environmental agreement to date.

In 2011, Patrick ascended to chair of the Multilateral Fund’s Executive Committee and later co-chaired the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol between 2013 and 2014. He further cemented his legacy as president of the Implementation Committee in 2019.

Patrick’s tenure was marked by instrumental contributions, particularly his pivotal role in the acceptance of the Kigali Amendment in 2016, a cornerstone of the Montreal Protocol’s climate change mitigation efforts to phase down HFCs.

The same year, Patrick’s career of protecting our planet’s ozone layer and climate earned him a Public Service Medal from the Australian government.

As director of the International Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Team at the federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, Patrick’s most recent contribution to the Montreal Protocol was at the Thirty-Fifth Meeting of the Parties in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2023.

His efforts were instrumental in steering negotiations towards a record level of replenishment for the Multilateral Fund between 2024 and 2026, helping developing countries comply with their obligations under the Montreal Protocol to phase out the use of ozone-depleting substances and phase down HFCs.

Photo by IISD/ENB Ash Appleton

Beyond his professional accomplishments, Patrick was known for his approachability, sense of humour, trustworthiness and kindness. His loss will be deeply felt but the positive impact of his tenacity and dedication will live on.

The VASA board had utmost respect for the heavy lifting done by Patrick over many years and his willingness to regularly engage and consult with industry locally.

Our deepest condolences go out to Patrick’s family, friends and colleagues. His funeral took place on March 6 in Canberra.

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