Greg Hunt

Federal Member for Flinders | Minister for Health

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Montreal Protocol meeting to tackle climate change by cutting HFC emissions

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Montreal Protocol meeting to tackle climate change by cutting HFC emissions

Today I will lead Australia’s delegation at the 27th Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Dubai, where the focus of global talks will be on working towards a phase down of hydrofluorocarbons.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are used as a substitute for ozone-depleting gases. They are man-made synthetic greenhouse gases that have a large detrimental effect on global CO2 equivalent levels.

They are used in domestic, commercial and industrial refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, as well as being used as a foam blowing agent and a non-flammable propellant in aerosols.

The original focus of the Montreal Protocol was to phase-out ozone-depleting gases, such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

Discussions are now underway to expand the Montreal Protocol for a phase-down HFCs.

In Australia, we are working towards phasing-down the use of HFCs by 85 per cent by 2036.

It is my hope that we can work towards a global phase-down of HFCs and I am confident we can get agreement in Dubai to push ahead with the process of managing HFCs globally.

The Montreal Protocol is considered one of the most successful international environmental agreements ever negotiated and implemented.

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimates that emissions of more than 135 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent have been averted from the atmosphere.

The Montreal Protocol has provided five-times the climate benefit compared with the annual emissions target for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

UNEP research suggests the recovery of the ozone layer is estimated to prevent 280 million cases of skin cancer, 1.6 million deaths from skin cancer and 46 million cases of cataracts for those people born this century. These are extraordinary numbers.

Australia will continue to work in partnership with countries party to the Montreal Protocol to ensure that ozone protection is based on good science and is technically feasible, and that developing countries are supported in their efforts.

In setting out a mandatory timetable for developed and developing countries to phase out all the major ozone depleting substances, the Protocol has been successful not only in halting the loss of the earth’s vital ozone layer but also in paving the way for its recovery.

This work will build on the success to date in helping to meet and beat Australia’s 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target and in working towards our 26 to 28 per cent 2030 target.

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