Thursday, August 4, 2011

China receives $265-million grant to reduce HCFC use

Thursday, August 04, 2011

The Multilateral Fund, a financial body established to aid developing countries meet their Montreal Protocol commitments, has given China a $265-million grant, to reduce the country’s use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons which contributes to ozone layer degradation.

China, the largest producer and consumer of the gas, uses HCFC mainly for air-conditioning refrigerant as well as industrial and commercial refrigeration, foam blowing agents, and as solvents. The country will be using the grant approved by the executive committee to support its commitment on achieving a green economy.

This step also represents the first stage of China’s HCFC phase out management plan, which when implemented, will not only eliminate 3,320 tons of HCFC consumption in the country, but will also help the country adopt new technologies that will be used to significantly reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Under the country’s plan to reduce the use of the gas, they intend to strengthen policy implementation to restrict the growth of HCFC production capacity, and establish the production capacity of alternatives through a series of projects. In addition, the government will also focus on reducing the leakage of refrigerants.

Following the plan and with the aid of the grant, China could see an overall reduction of about 17 percent of the country’s total amount of controlled HCFC use. In line with their efforts, United Nations Development Program, U.N. Environment Program, U.N. Industrial Development Organization, the World Bank, and the governments of Germany and Japan will be aiding China.

In 2009, China was responsible for over 58 percent of HCFC consumption in developing countries; this was due to the rapidly growing economy. Industries in the country are faced with the fact that they should convert hundreds of their assembly lines in order to stop the consumption of HCFC by 2013 and reduce its consumption from this level by 10 percent by 2015.

“The approval of China’s HCFC phase out management plan represents an extraordinary achievement by the Multilateral Fund and its stakeholders to reduce HCFC consumption,” said Maria Nolan, chief officer of the Multilateral Fund.

The fund was established in 1991 and has since approved activities including industrial conversion, technical assistance, training and capacity building worth over $2.6 billion. As of April 2011, contributions made by some 45 countries totaled over $2.77 billion.
Its main objective is to assist developing country parties to the Montreal Protocol whose annual per capita consumption and production of ozone depleting substances is less than 0.3 kilograms to comply with the control measures of the protocol.

Currently, 147 of the 196 parties to the Montreal Protocol meet these criteria.
In line with the Montreal Protocol’s phase out of ozone depleting substances starting the last week of July, the U.N. had started giving aid to countries in their transition to a low-carbon economy. It is estimated that by 2015, combined member countries’ plans to reduce ozone depleting substances will prevent more than 62 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. (L. J. Polintan)

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