Report of main proceedings for 14 November 2012
Montreal Protocol MOP 24
The preparatory segment of MOP-24 reconvened for its final day on Wednesday, 14 November 2012, in Geneva, Switzerland. In the morning, delegates joined a number of contact and discussion groups on: alternatives to ODS; budget; additional funding for climate benefits; and amendment proposals.
Contact group discussions continued in the afternoon, with discussions on: feedstock uses; TEAP procedural and administrative issues; differences between imports and exports; QPS uses of methyl bromide; and ODS on ships.
Plenary resumed in the evening.
ALTERNATIVES TO ODS CONTACT GROUP
The contact group continued discussion of the initial operative paragraphs of draft decision XXIV/[E] (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/8). SWITZERLAND proposed removing brackets around the characteristics of possible alternatives to be identified and described by TEAP, including being low GWP, commercially available, technically proven and environmentally friendly, to maintain focus. INDIA objected to mentioning GWP or climate. The group decided to use the term environmentally “sound” instead of “friendly”. Participants then discussed whether to keep the descriptive list. While SWITZERLAND, the EU and AUSTRALIA preferred retaining the list, INDIA insisted on a general reference to “taking into account environmental considerations”. BRAZIL recognized India’s concerns and highlighted its open position. The US indicated it would accept either option.
Delegates agreed to the Co-Chairs’ proposal to prepare a draft streamlined compromise decision. INDIA agreed on the understanding that both options will remain in the new text.
The budget contact group continued its discussion of the CRP on administrative and financial matters. Participants discussed outstanding budget items, including line items for a webmaster, an administrative assistant and meeting support.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR CLIMATE BENEFITS CONTACT GROUP
Donor countries emphasized that this decision could facilitate donors to mobilize additional funding. SWITZERLAND, with the US and the EU, noted that ozone and climate change fall under two different budgets. The US, and the EU highlighted a “funding window” approach for activities not traditionally funded by MLF. The EU queried transaction costs. Parties requested more information about proposal methodologies.
DISCUSSION GROUP ON AMENDMENT PROPOSALS
Delegates elected GRENADA and SWITZERLAND as co-conveners of the informal discussion group. GRENADA proposed organizing the discussion around topics such as alternatives to HFCs, science and institutional aspects and finance. CHINA, supported by INDIA, but opposed by the EU, the US and CANADA, objected to discussion of specifics, particularly on technical issues, preferring a general exchange of views.
The US said it proposed a phase-down due to alternatives not being available in every sector, such as for MDIs. He suggested that schedules could be adjusted later if alternatives are identified. The EU agreed that an HFC phase-down approach allows additional alternatives to emerge over time. He added that bans and taxes can push consumers and producers in the right direction. CANADA highlighted commercialized alternatives available in the foam sector, noting there is still time for alternatives to emerge in other sectors.
The FSM explained that, because the Kyoto Protocol addresses “baskets of gases,” the UNFCCC may not address HFCs if addressing carbon dioxide or other gases that is cheaper. He stressed that the most mitigation would occur by using the Montreal Protocol as an additional approach. CANADA requested that parties who advocate addressing HFCs under the climate regime provide details on how they propose to do so.
NORWAY asked if parties had concerns about areas where there are no alternatives. SINGAPORE said its primary concern is the availability of alternatives. INDIA said there was uncertainty on emerging technologies. JAPAN said it is important to control GWP levels, noting that some HFCs have high GWP while others have low GWP.
The SAP commented on observed increases of HFCs in the atmosphere, which are ten to fifteen percent per year. In response to queries by the US and the EU, the SAP said, inter alia: observations are based on measurements at ground stations that are averaged to give global concentrations; and differences among different HFCs are calculated and reported.
CHINA and NEW ZEALAND stated that more information is needed, with CHINA stressing the UNFCCC as the suitable forum for discussion. NEW ZEALAND said current growth in HFC use indicates that action needs to be taken.
INDIA suggested that SAP projections are not valid as the penetration of HFCs has not occurred in the manner used by the SAP. SOUTH AFRICA noted that the technical debates taking place presuppose the existence of an agreement wherein Article 5 countries are willing to take on commitment without a defined phase-down pathway. He noted the debates also preempt how the Kyoto and Montreal Protocols and their respective financial mechanisms would interact with each other. Calling for further discussion, he outlined a number of policy issues, including that: a phase-down would result in developing countries taking on quantified targets for the first time, albeit at a sector level; and issues of CDR and capabilities, which have particular consequences in the climate regime.
FEEDSTOCK USES CONTACT GROUP
The US outlined a case-study approach where TEAP would select countries to assess their feedstock data gathering and assessment procedures. He said this approach would provide TEAP with different methodologies from which countries could learn. INDIA highlighted its approach involving scientific, government and industrial actors. The EU noted they often consult CTOC. CHINA asked if parties would be requested to conform to certain approaches. The US, with the EU, and opposed by INDIA, said this approach would be voluntary and serve as a learning mechanism.
QPS USES OF METHYL BROMIDE CONTACT GROUP
Parties discussed text on reporting of methyl bromide for QPS to TEAP (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/8). TEAP noted Article 7 data is ready. NEW ZEALAND, with AUSTRALIA, the US and TEAP, said data provided on a voluntary nature is not sufficient to conduct a robust analysis or develop a clear conclusion on QPS and methyl bromide. SWITZERLAND, the US and others suggested providing more regular TEAP reports, including trend data. The US stressed there are necessary exemptions for methyl bromide. IPPC explained their ‘system approach application’ to tackle pests, where parties are encouraged to reduce or reuse methyl bromide.
Plenary reconvened in the evening.
ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS: Consideration of membership of Montreal Protocol bodies for 2013: The Secretariat informed parties that nominations for new bureau positions were received from Eastern Europe and Western Europe and others. The Secretariat stated a nomination for a Co-Chair from a non-Article 5 party was received from Australia; they are waiting on a second Co-Chair nomination from the Latin America & Caribbean region. These must be approved for the high level segment. INDIA, ECUADOR, BENIN and others stated they will provide names before Thursday’s high level segment.
Evaluation of the financial mechanism of the Montreal Protocol: AUSTRALIA introduced its draft decision on the evaluation of the financial mechanism (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.6), stating it: notes the report with appreciation; requests the ExCom to consider the report; and recommends evaluating the financial mechanism on a periodic basis. Noting that it has worked with some parties but not all, he welcomed additional time for consultations. COLOMBIA called for including clear terms of reference, and with BRAZIL, CHINA, and the EU supported further discussions on the document. Co-Chair Alkemade established a contact group.
Procedural issues related to tEAP and its subsidiary bodies: JAPAN reported on the progress of the contact group on TEAP administrative issues and requested more time.
The US introduced the CRP on TEAP membership changes (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.8). He thanked Stephen Andersen for his service and highlighted the nominations and re-appointments in the decision. Delegates agreed to forward the decision to the high-level segment.
CHINA introduced its CRP on endorsing a new co-chair of the Environmental Effects Assessment Panel (EEAP) (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.5). Delegates agreed to forward the decision to the high-level segment.
Proposal on trade of controlled substances with ships sailing under a foreign flag: The BAHAMAS presented progress in the contact group, noting that additional time was needed to complete its work. Delegates agreed to allow the group to continue.
Issues related to exemptions from Article 2 of the Montreal Protocol: Nominations for essential-use exemptions for 2013: CHINA reported on its discussions with CTOC on its TCM exemption. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION agreed with its allotted exemption. Parties will meet for further discussion.
Nominations for critical-use exemptions for 2014: The Co-Chair proposed to discuss CUE for methyl bromide, introduced by Canada, and invited comments (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.4). The EU expressed “puzzlement” that several parties ignored scientific advice from MBTOC on CUEs, and responded with figures different from those recommended. CANADA reiterated its respect for MBTOC recommendations, and said that it was the first time Canada had made this request in a critical situation, and it is ready to discuss with the EU. The US explained the complicated situation of house-smoked ham and strawberry producers and the absence of alternatives to methyl bromide. AUSTRALIA also explained the different soil and other conditions in different parts of the country.
The EU said it had a number of specific questions to ask on nominations, and Co-Chair Odat suggested that the delegates meet to reach consensus on the matter, to which they agreed.
QPS issues: NORWAY presented the contact group on QPS uses of methyl bromide, stating that meetings were constructive, but requested more time to which delegates agreed.
Feedstock uses: The EU presented the contact group on feedstocks, recognizing useful discussion, but needed more time, to which delegates agreed.
Additional information on alternatives to ODS: GRENADA described the group’s progress and requested additional time, to which delegates agreed.
Proposal on the review by the Scientific Assessment Panel of RC-316c: Delegates forwarded the decision to the high-level segment.
Proposal on additional MLF funding for implementing the Protocol to maximize the climate benefit of the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs: CAMEROON presented the contact group on Additional Funding for Climate Benefits, noting that many parties participated, but requested more time.
Other matters: Co-Chair Odat introduced the agenda item. He expressed gratitude to Paul Horwitz, the outgoing Deputy Executive Secretary of the Montreal Protocol, and Maria Nolan, outgoing chief officer of the MLF, and stressed the importance of maintaining the level of expertise in the Montreal Protocol to face the difficult period ahead. Tribute was also paid by the US.
Application of paragraph 8 of Article 4 of the Montreal Protocol with respect to the Beijing Amendment to the Montreal Protocol: KENYA introduced this item. ECUADOR said it had presented similar text under CRP7 (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/CRP.10 and 7). CANADA, supported by the EU, suggested including Kenya and Chad in CRP 7. BAHRAIN, BOLIVIA and others said they are taking steps to ratify the Beijing Amendments. BAHRAIN, AUSTRALIA, BELARUS and KUWAIT noted that some parties have not signed the Beijing Amendment. BELARUS highlighted the impacts of free-trade agreements, noting the potential for non-signatory countries to compromise the status of their neighbors. The US, TUNISIA, AUSTRALIA and the EU requested additional time to consider merging CRP 7 and 10.
Status of the Bali Declaration: INDONESIA updated the meeting on the status of the Declaration, which calls for the most effective means under the Montreal Protocol of achieving the transition to low GWP alternatives to ODS. She noted that 105 countries support the Declaration and several have given oral support and encouraged others to join.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Much unfinished business was crammed into the remaining hours of the preparatory segment’s final day. A dozen contact groups met continuously, straining the room capacity of the conference center. India complained of an inability to adequately discuss important issues for lack of rooms. Several parties reported in plenary that there had been no time for needed bi-lateral and multi-lateral discussions, forcing them to request additional time. At times, tempers ran high: the EU spoke ominously of countries that “ignored scientific advice” from MBTOC to cut on their CUE nominations. This comment provoked angry responses from Canada, the US and Australia, who, after explaining the critical situation of their farmers, sat down with the EU to sort out mutual grievances. The item that received the most favorable comment was the cooling equipment in the reception area, which uses alternatives such as propane and CO2. The stall managers employed an ingenious method of attracting participants’ interest by providing complimentary ice cream and beer, resulting in large numbers of informal consultations, though one skeptic suggested such methods are “rather premature.”