Chanakya IAS Academy Blog

Relevance and use of the article in UPSC prelims and mains examination: Dear aspirants the recently concluded kigali agreement is much important from point of view of Paper: III UPSC prelims and mains examination. Read the issue thoroughly.The agreement adopted at Kigali, Rwanda, to limit and reduce the use of heat-trapping refrigerant gases, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), is a big win for the global effort to address climate change.For its part, India showed flexibility to help secure an ambitious agreement while protecting its development space. Now, make this a grand commercial opportunity.Let's see how?

Introduction:

  • The Kigali Amendment is a testament to the spirit of Paris; that countries can collectively work towards addressing global challenges like climate change without jeopardising their economic and developmental goals.
  • A historic global climate deal was reached in Kigali, Rwanda at the Twenty-Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP 28).
  • The so called Kigali Amendment which amends the 1987 Montreal Protocol aims to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of potent greenhouse gases by the late 2040s. Under Kigali Amendment, in all 197 countries, including India have agreed to a timeline to reduce the use of HFCs by roughly 85% of their baselines by 2045.

What are Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)?

  • HFCs are a family of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are largely used in refrigerants in home, car air-conditioners and air sprays etc. These factory-made gases had replaced CFCs under the 1987 Montreal Protocol to protect Earth’s fragile protective Ozone layer and heal the ozone hole over the Antarctic.

Why HFCs cause damage?

  • In recent times, it was found that HFCs have several thousand times capacity in retaining heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide (CO2), a potent GHG. Thus, it can be said that HFCs have helped ozone layer but exacerbated global warming. Currently, HFCs are currently the world’s fastest GHGs, with emissions increasing by up to 10% each year.

Importance of Kigali Amendment?

  • "The Kigali Agreement to the Montreal Protocol is a historic occasion, which will have a lasting impact on our planet.
  • Agreement will lead to a reduction of 0.5 degree in global temp by the end of the century and enable us to achieve the goals set in Paris.
  • The flexibility and cooperation shown by India as well as other countries has created this fair, equitable and ambitious HFC agreement.
  • This will also provide a mechanism for countries like India to access and develop technologies that leave a low carbon footprint.
  • It also has provisions for penalties for non-compliance. Under it, developed countries will also provide enhanced funding support estimated at billions of dollars globally. The exact amount of additional funding from developed countries will be agreed at the next Meeting of the Parties in Montreal in 2017.

The Kigali accord divides the world into three groups

  • All signatory countries have been divided into three groups with different timelines to go about reductions of HFCs.
  • Group I: It includes richest countries like US and those in European Union (EU). They will freeze production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. They will reduce them to about 15% of 2012 levels by 2036.
  • Group II: It includes countries like China, Brazil and all of Africa etc. They will freeze HFC use by 2024 and cut it to 20% of 2021 levels by 2045.
  • Group:III It includes countries India, Pakistan, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia etc. They will be freezing HFC use by 2028 and reducing it to about 15% of 2025 levels by 2047.
  • Kigali vs Paris agreement? The Paris agreement which will come into force by 2020 is not legally binding on countries to cut their emissions. The Kigali Amendment is considered absolutely vital for reaching the Paris Agreement target of keeping global temperature rise to below 2-degree Celsius compared to pre-industrial times.

What India can do?

  • Having secured its developmental space, India cannot rest. The Kigali amendment is a signal to industry and entrepreneurs in India and across the world to develop viable and scalable climate solutions.
  • India needs to invest and encourage in research and development of alternatives. The government recently put in place a multi-stakeholder platform comprising research institutions and laboratories, and industry.
  • It now needs to encourage institutions and industry to participate through time-bound programmes to develop alternative refrigerant gases that will not harm the planet.
  • Domestically, it needs to push industry segments that are able to make the transition to climate-friendly refrigerant gases soon and not wait till 2028 to begin the process.
  • A Later date to begin transition to climate friendly refrigerants must not become an occasion to do nothing. Instead, it must be space that propels industry to emerge as leaders in climate-friendly technologies.
  • This is an opportunity to utilise the startup ecosystem to meet a genuine engineering challenge, rather than find yet another variant of e-commerce.
  • One of the questions before India in its implementation of Montreal Protocol commitments is the need to align its goals for ‘Make in India’ with green technologies in order to remain competitive in global markets. Inducting alternatives to HFCs, such as hydrocarbons, ammonia and carbon dioxide, in the relevant industries should happen sooner than anticipated and possibly become even attractive as the cost of technologies falls.

Conclusion:

  • Given the impact of global warming, countries and people who have historically never been part of the problem should not have to argue their case for liberal assistance.
  • "This amendment to the Montreal Protocol is the single most important measure the global community could take to limit global warming in the short-term.Over the last year the global march to tackle climate change has been unwavering. The Paris Agreement, the ICAO Agreement (on emission cut from international airlines) and the Montreal Protocol amendment are three pillars that underpin a global transformation to a far safer and more prosperous planet".

Question for prelims:

Consider the following statements:

  • HFCs are a family of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are largely used in refrigerants in home, car air-conditioners and air sprays etc.
  • Recently concluded kigali agreement is based on HFCs.
  • Kigali Agreement will lead to a reduction of 0.5 degree in global temp by the end of the century and enable us to achieve the goals set in Paris.

Which of the following statements is/are correct:

  • Only 1
  • Only 1 and 2
  • 1, 2, 3
  • None of the above is correct

Question for Mains:

What is the significance of the Kigali agreement to amend the Montreal Protocol and substantially limit the emission of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that contribute to global warming? Discuss.

Suggested Points:

  • Discuss about the recently concluded Kigali agreement.
  • Discuss about HFCs and its environmental impact.
  • Provisions of kigali.
  • Dos and Don'ts for India.
  • Benefit to india from kigali.
  • Conclude.

Link:http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/kigali-amendment-to-montreal-protocol-cool-the-world/article9226943.ece

Link:http://thewire.in/73462/hfcs-kigali-radiative-forcing/

Link:http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/10/kigali-deal-agreement-reached-phase-hfcs-161015075725587.html

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