NGO Praises China’s Plan to Regulate HFCs

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA)-U.S. a Washington, DC-based NGO, issued a statement yesterday praising China for proposing a new national plan to regulate HFCs.

The plan would amend China’s existing regulations dealing with ozone depleting substances (ODS) to cover HFCs and also to strengthen monitoring and enforcement of existing measures.

Under the plan, China would regulate HFCs consistent with implementation of the Kigali Amendment, including a quota system that gradually reduces the production and consumption of HFCs for controlled uses such as refrigerants, foaming agents, fire extinguishing agents, solvents, cleaning agents, and aerosols. China is the world’s largest producer of these gases, and manufactures about 70% of the world’s air conditioners.

“This draft plan demonstrates a clear intent to tackle these potent greenhouse gases,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, Climate Campaign Lead, EIA-U.S. “EIA commends China for initiating this comprehensive process to implement the Kigali Amendment and strengthen enforcement of existing controls over ozone-destroying chemicals,” 

China has not yet officially ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which seeks a roughly 85% phase-down of HFC production and use by 2047. The Amendment, which went into effect in January 2019, has been so far ratified by 93 countries and the European Union.

Mahapatra said she hopes China’s proposal will “pave the way for other major producers and consumers who have not yet signaled a commitment to ratify, notably the United States and India, to also phase-down HFCs.”

The EIA has previously investigated illegal use of an ODS, CFC-11, in China’s polyurethane foam insulation sector. The NGO, which urged the Chinese government to address these breaches, noted that several of its recommended steps are now included in the proposed plan, including:

— Increased fines and punishment for illegal production and sale of ODS and HFCs and other violations, and a provision encouraging and rewarding citizen reporting of such violations.

— Improved management and source control through inclusion of raw materials and co-produced substances subject to control measures such as automatic monitoring. 

— Research, development, and application of ODS and HFC detection and monitoring technologies and methods.

— Finance, taxation and procurement mechanisms to support replacement alternatives, as well as research and technology development to encourage the recovery, recycling and conversion of ODS and HFCs.

This draft plan demonstrates a clear intent to tackle these potent greenhouse gases.

Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA-US