INDO-US WORKSHOP ON HYDROFLUOROCARBONS (HFCs)
Indiais party to the Vienna Convention for Protection of the Ozone Layer (March 1991) and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (June 1992) and its subsequent amendments. The objective of the Protocol is to phase-out the production and consumption of the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS), to reduce the chlorine and bromine loading in the stratosphere and to protect the ozone layer.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone layer has successfully phased-out non-exempted production and consumption of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Carbontetrachloride (CTC) and Halons globally including in India as on 1stJanuary 2010. The Protocol now has entered in another regime, the phase-out of next category of chemicals; the HCFCs. India being one of the largest developing countries has been actively participating in developing the policy guidelines for phase-out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).
The HFCs have emerged as the main alternatives to ODSs like CFCs and HCFCs for most of the applications because of their favourable properties and ease of use. The HFCs are zero Ozone Depleting Potential (ODP) chemicals but these are Green House Gases (GHGs) with certain Global Warming Potential (GWP). However, the GWP of these chemicals is much lower than that of ODSs which have been phased-out. This is how the Montreal Protocol has not only saved the Ozone Layer but also saved the climate system. The HFCs are widely used globally in most of the applications as technically proven, environmentally benign and economically viable alternatives are not yet available.
The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India organized a one-day Indo-US Workshop on HFCs on 18th February, 2011 in New Delhi. Shri. Jairam Ramesh, Hon’ble Minister of State for Environment and Forests (Independent Charge) graced the occasion on the Inaugural and the Concluding Sessions. The workshop was attended by Mr. Daniel Alan Reifsnyder, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Dept. of State, Mr. Marco Gonzalez, Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, representatives from Government, Industries, Civil Society groups both from US and India, observers from the EU etc.
The workshop highlights the issues related to the production and consumption of HFCs and technically-proven, environmentally-benign and economically-viable alternatives to HFCs.