Senior hands giving small planet earth to a child

Highlights and images for 6 July 2023

Bangkok, Thailand

With one day left to complete a heavily populated agenda, delegates attending the forty-fifth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG 45) of Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer raced to wrap up several outstanding issues. In formal and informal settings, they engaged in a number of discussions also occurring outside the ozone bubble.

As they examined a comprehensive report of the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP), they came face to face with some real-world implications of phasing out or phasing down substances controlled under the Protocol. For instance, some pressurized metered-dose inhalers used in the management of asthma contain propellants with high global warming potential (GWP). While it is understood that the world needs to transition away from these propellants, the TEAP underlined that the transition to low-GWP inhalers will need to be carefully managed to ensure the supply and price of inhalers for asthma sufferers.

Ozone Secretariat Executive Secretary Megumi Seki

Ozone Secretariat Executive Secretary Megumi Seki

Further, the TEAP’s report addressed per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), more commonly known as forever chemicals. These toxic substances have been the subject of discussions in other processes, specifically under the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions and negotiations towards a new treaty on plastic pollution. PFAS present challenges to the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, as they have been proposed as alternatives to some ozone depleting substances and substances with high GWP. Discussions on this issue will likely continue for some time.

Switching gears, delegates also discussed the configuration of the TEAP and its Technical Options Committees (TOCs). They considered a proposal calling for the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump TOC (RTOC) to continue as a single body organized around two specific areas: the cold chain; and space heating and cooling. Parties will undertake informal discussions on this issue, as some would like to see increased synergies within the RTOC.

Fabio Polonara, TEAP

Fabio Polonara, TEAP

Thursday saw contact and informal groups working against the clock to finalize discussions on important issues, such as the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund (MLF), the terms of reference for the next quadrennial assessments, and the proposed baseline adjustment for the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Protocol. Some tired delegates shared that the agenda had been heavier than usual, which may leave a lot to be done in October in Nairobi when the Meeting of the Parties convenes.

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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the 45th meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (OEWG45), please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Anastasia Rodopoulou.

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