Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB)
Volume 19 Number 149 | Wednesday, 6 November 2019
MOP 31 Highlights
Tuesday, 5 November 2019 | Rome, Italy
The thirty-first Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (MOP 31) convened for its second day on Tuesday, 5 November 2019 in Rome, Italy. In the morning, addressed: stocks of methyl bromide; development and availability of laboratory and analytical procedures that can be performed without using controlled substances under the Protocol; and Article 5 parties’ access to energy-efficient technologies in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat-pump (RACHP) sectors.
In the afternoon, discussion continued on energy-efficient technologies, and addressed, inter alia: the terms of reference (ToR), composition, balance, fields of expertise and workload of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP); Multilateral Fund (MLF) Executive Committee (ExCom) membership; safety standards; initial assessment by the Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP) and the TEAP of five volatile fluoroorganic and related compounds found in the Arctic; consideration of nominations to the Assessment Panels; the Implementation Committee (ImpCom) report; and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) risk of non-compliance with HCFC reduction targets for 2019.
Contact groups on the 2022 quadrennial assessment, and CFC-11, as well as the Budget Committee, met during the day.
Issues Related to Exemptions under Articles 2A–2I of the Montreal Protocol
Stocks of methyl bromide: OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas introduced this agenda item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2 and UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2/Add.1). She recalled the draft decision introduced by the EU at OEWG 41, stating it was not forwarded to MOP 31. The EU reemphasized their interest in the issue, stating that reporting on methyl bromide stocks could be incorporated into the draft decision on critical use exemptions (CUEs) being prepared by Canada. He asked that the agenda item remain open for a potential CRP to be submitted later.
ECUADOR and JORDAN supported assessment of global methyl bromide stocks. BARBADOS, supported by CHILE, preferred the agenda items on reporting on stocks and CUEs be discussed separately.
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas proposed, and delegates agreed, that both agenda items remain open, with the EU participating in the CUEs CRP discussion led by CANADA and assessing the feasibility of a separate CRP on stocks.
Development and availability of laboratory and analytical procedures that can be performed without using controlled substances under the Protocol: OEWG 41 Co-Chair Wilmart introduced this agenda item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2). CANADA reported more time is needed to finalize a draft decision. SWITZERLAND, the EU, and US noted that simplifying procedures will benefit both the parties and the TEAP. Co-Chair Wilmart said discussions would continue informally.
Process Agents: OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas introduced this item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2). She recalled that MOP 30 had considered recommendations from the TEAP to update tables on ozone depleting substances (ODS) currently used as process agents. The EU said a CRP is being developed that will propose updating the necessary tables. OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas requested the CRP be finalized and brought to plenary for further discussion.
Article 5 Parties’ Access to Energy-Efficient Technologies in the RACHP Sectors
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Wilmart introduced this item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2, UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2/Add.1 and UNEP/OzL.Pro.WG.1/41/5). The TEAP Task Force on Energy Efficiency, in its presentation, concluded that: technologies to enhance the energy efficiency of air-conditioning (AC) and commercial refrigeration (CR) equipment during the HFC phase-down are available; countries can use market policies and incentives to increase energy efficiency during the phase down of high-GWP HFCs in CR and ACs; international and regional cooperation is key for market transformation; and Article 5 parties can benefit from capacity building and market transformation support.
Responding to questions from parties, the TEAP Task Force said their analysis did not consider accessibility, only availability, and noted that availability did not differentiate between types of technology or their market penetration.
The TEAP Task Force also stated, inter alia, that: delaying energy efficient equipment’s uptake can result in additional costs over the equipment’s lifetime; and, the price of energy efficient equipment tends to be higher in countries with high ambient temperatures.
ARGENTINA, BAHRAIN, BARBADOS, BURKINA FASO, KUWAIT, INDIA, and SAMOA noted that both availability of and access to efficient technologies are unevenly distributed globally. The FEDERATED STATES OF MICRONESIA requested the TEAP continue providing updates on changing technology and market conditions. COLOMBIA, supported by the EU and AUSTRALIA, requested: international efficiency standards be developed; additional policy measures be explored; and, international cooperation and knowledge-sharing be emphasized. COLOMBIA, supported by ARGENTINA, requested the MLF support greater cooperation and capacity building in countries facing availability limitations or higher costs to adopt and implement high-efficiency technologies. CANADA noted the ExCom has already committed to, inter alia: supporting countries with training programmes to introduce energy efficient technologies; and identifying best practices for energy efficiency.
Co-Chair Wilmart proposed, and delegates agreed, to continue discussions informally.
ToR, Composition, Balance, Fields of Expertise and Workload of the TEAP
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas introduced this agenda item reminding the parties that the CRP introduced by Saudi Arabia at OEWG 41 was forwarded to the MOP 31 with brackets (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2, UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/3, UNEP/OzL.Pro.WG.1/41/4 and UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/10). She proposed reestablishing the contact group with Lara Haidar (Lebanon) and Philippe Chemouny (Canada) as co-facilitators. Delegates agreed.
Membership of the MLF ExCom
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Wilmart introduced this agenda item, proposing an informal contact group be established (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2 and UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/3). ARMENIA called a permanent seat on the MLF ExCom for a member of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia group, and, with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, urged adopting the draft decision.
The US and JORDAN opposed the draft decision, noting that ExCom representation is currently efficient and has equal representation. The US expressed willingness to discuss the concerns of the Eastern Europe and Central Asia group regarding MLF project approval and execution in an informal contact group. ARMENIA, supported by GEORGIA and KYRGYZSTAN, requested establishing a formal contact group. OEWG 41 Co-Chair Wilmart established an informal contact group.
Request by Azerbaijan to be included among the Parties to which the Phase-Down Schedule for HFCs, as set out in Paragraphs 2 and 4 of Article 2J of the Montreal Protocol, Applies
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas introduced this agenda item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2 and UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/3). She suggested, as Azerbaijan is not present at MOP 31, the agenda item be closed with the possibility that it be reintroduced at a future meeting. Delegates agreed.
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Wilmart introduced this agenda item, reminding delegates about the online tool developed by the Ozone Secretariat (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2 and UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2/Add.1). The EU stressed that revised safety standards are crucial for implementation of the Kigali Amendment. CHINA called for revised standards on household appliances. OEWG 41 Co-Chair Wilmart closed the agenda item.
Initial Assessment by the SAP and TEAP of Five Volatile Fluoroorganic and Related Compounds Found In the Arctic
Co-Chair Wilmart introduced this agenda item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2). The SAP and TEAP presented their initial assessment, noting the five chemicals occur at very low concentrations. They added that although three of the gases are ODS, these substances are currently not threats to the ozone layer and their climate impact is likely negligible.
Responding to NORWAY, the TEAP said it used publicly available information and its own expert knowledge on the chemicals market to determine the availability and market value of these chemicals. SAP, responding to BARBADOS, said that due to science limitations, the origins of the emissions are unknown, but climatological observations suggest they originated from Norway. The SAP said it would be better placed to address this in the future as measurement techniques improve.
SWITZERLAND suggested controlled studies to better understand the impacts of these chemicals. Co-Chair Wilmart closed this agenda item.
Consideration of Nominations to the Assessment Panels
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas opened this agenda item, noting two additional nominations received since OEWG 41 (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2, UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2/Add.1 and UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/10). The US informed plenary that the EEAP has been contacted about an additional nomination, and she will consult with other parties and report to plenary on the matter.
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas asked parties to follow the guidelines and matrix available for nominating panelists.
Compliance and Data Reporting Issues: The Work and Recommended Decisions of the ImpCom
Co-Chair Wilmart introduced this agenda item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/CRP.2). Patrick McInerney (Australia), ImpCom President, reported on the ImpCom’s 62nd and 63rd meetings. He noted the CRP contains two draft decisions that cover data reporting and HFC licensing systems, remarking that all parties are currently in compliance. He explained that the CRP also urges: periodic review of HFC licensing systems; stocktaking to ensure noncompliance mechanisms are well-suited to meet future challenges; and identifying possible gaps in compliance enforcement. He noted the ImpCom had also requested the Secretariat provide information on the possible ways of dealing with illegal production and illegal trade of controlled substances, which is appended to the Committee’s report and will be made available in the coming days. Co-Chair Wilmart suggested this issue be forwarded to OEWG 42 for further discussion. After noting a request from the US to make minor amendments for clarity, delegates agreed.
Risk of Non-Compliance with HCFC Reduction Targets for 2019 by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
OEWG 41 Co-Chair Arciniegas introduced this item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.31/2). The DPRK said that although the agenda item had been closed at OEWG 41, they requested its inclusion on the MOP 31 agenda, noting that being unable to receive technical and monetary assistance to phase out HCFCs puts them at risk of non-compliance. The US opposed a draft decision proposed by the DPRK, saying Protocol decisions will have to comply with Security Council sanctions.
Co-Chair Wilmart suggested the item be taken up on Wednesday morning.
Contact Group Discussions
CFC-11 Contact Group: Parties discussed how institutional processes could be enhanced and strengthened to prevent similar situations arising. Parties also discussed the steps needed to address the unexpected emissions.
Delegates explored the possibility of mandating the TEAP and SAP to address the aforementioned issues; however, it was noted that it is challenging to enhance reporting requirements for parties —particularly Article 5 parties—who already face high reporting obligations and would require additional funding support from the MLF for any additional obligations. Another party queried whether this single compliance anomaly necessitates significant changes, given that Protocol requirements are otherwise effective.
In the Corridors
“Festina lente”—make haste slowly—one delegate said, seemed to be at the back of parties’ minds as they realized that despite the need to act quickly to address emerging issues, careful planning will still be needed. Delegates continued to debate how to balance the need to strengthen monitoring and compliance, to avoid repeats of CFC-11, without creating additional reporting burdens on Article 5 countries. As one seasoned observer stated, even though monitoring and compliance are key for continued success, more obligations require more funding and resources, which need to be found somewhere.