DENR pushes re­duc­tion of hy­droflu­o­ro­car­bons

The Philippine Star - - BUSINESS - By LOUISE MAU­REEN SIMEON

The De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Nat­u­ral Re­sources (DENR) is call­ing for the grad­ual re­duc­tion of the use of hy­droflu­o­ro­car­bons (HFCs) amid the con­tin­ued threat of global warm­ing.

En­vi­ron­ment Sec­re­tary Roy Ci­matu is urg­ing the re­frig­er­a­tion and air con­di­tion­ing sec­tor to sup­port the grad­ual phase down of HFCs con­sid­ered to be pow­er­ful green­house gases (GHG) that are great con­trib­u­tors to global warm­ing.

Re­lat­ing to the 30th an­niver­sary of the sign­ing of the land­mark Mon­treal Pro­to­col on Sub­stances that De­plete the Ozone, Ci­matu said the gains from the agree­ment are be­ing threat­ened by the use of HFCs as al­ter­na­tive re­frig­er­ants.

"HFCs are not ODS (ozone de­plet­ing sub­stances), but are po­tent GHG which can have high global warm­ing po­ten­tials and are rapidly in­creas­ing in the at­mos­phere," he said.

"With­out any mech­a­nism to con­trol HFCs, it is pre­dicted that its emis­sions could negate the cli­mate ben­e­fits achieved by the Mon­treal Pro­to­col," Ci­matu added.

Com­monly used in re­frig­er­a­tors and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tems, HFCs are called "su­per green­house gases" with a warm­ing ef­fect that can be sev­eral thou­sand times greater than car­bon diox­ide.

HFCs were de­vel­oped af­ter the phase­out of the ozone-de­plet­ing chlo­roflu­o­ro­car­bons and hy­drochlo­roflu­o­ro­car­bons re­quired by the Mon­treal Pro­to­col in 1987.

The ben­e­fit of re­duc­ing HFC emis­sions has been widely rec­og­nized, lead­ing to an amend­ment of the Mon­treal Pro­to­col, known as the Ki­gali Amend­ment which called for de­vel­oped coun­tries to start to phase down HFCs by 2019 and in de­vel­op­ing coun­tries in­clud­ing the Philip­pines to fol­low with a freeze by 2024.

Adopted in 2016 and ex­pected to en­ter into force by 2019, the Ki­gali Amend­ment aims to avoid nearly half a de­gree Cel­sius of warm­ing by the end of the cen­tury.

Ci­matu said the coun­try could ben­e­fit from the fi­nan­cial and tech­ni­cal sup­port pro­vided un­der the Mon­treal Pro­to­col for par­ties to the Ki­gali Amend­ment.

The Mul­ti­lat­eral Fund for the Im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Mon­treal Pro­to­col has pro­vided over $3.5 bil­lion to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to phase out ODS.

"This can def­i­nitely help af­fected sec­tors in the coun­try to tran­si­tion from HFCs to nat­u­ral cli­mate-friendly al­ter­na­tives, such as car­bon diox­ide, am­mo­nia and hy­dro­car­bons which do not cause global warm­ing," he said.

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