Mon | Dec 17, 2018

Earth Today | Jamaica gets help ratifying deal to combat HFCs

Published:Thursday | August 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM

JAMAICA IS being helped on the road to the ratification of the Kigali Amendment that requires the gradual phase down in the production and use of the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are known to fuel global warming.

This is courtesy of the 18-month project being implemented by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with funding from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol of which the Kigali Amendment forms a part.

HFCs have been used in foam production, refrigeration and other processes as alternatives to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which are harmful to the ozone layer that protects life on earth from the ill effects of the ultraviolet rays of the sun.

"While not themselves ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are greenhouse gases which can have high or very high global warming potentials," reveals the OzonAction fact sheet produced from the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in October 2016 in Kigali, Rawanda.

It was from that meeting that countries emerged with the deal - referred to as the Kigali Amendment - that includes, among other things, specific targets and a schedule to replace HFCs with more planet-friendly alternatives, as well as an agreement for rich countries to help to bankroll the transition of poor countries to safer alternative products.

 

PARIS AGREEMENT

 

The deal struck is seen by some as a significant collective global effort towards "holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change", as provided for under the historic Paris Agreement.

That agreement - reached in 2015 and since ratified by some 179 countries, including Jamaica - involved parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and responds to climate change threats, including global warming but also rising sea levels and more extreme weather events, among other things.

According to information out of the UNDP, the objectives of its Jamaica project - dubbed 'Implementing Enabling Activities for the Ratification of the Kigali Amendment' - are to support the Government in the implementation of actions to allow for "the seamless" ratification of the Kigali Amendment and to identify legislation and/or policies to be reinforced or modified in support of early ratification.

To those ends, the project is to review legislative and policy framework in support of the ratification process; identify gaps, if any; and conduct a baseline assessment to determine the amount of HFCs being imported into the country annually and the labelling of products entering the country with HFCs.

The UNDP project will also take account of international best practices; identify gaps locally and make recommendations; as well as take on capacity building in reporting to the Multilateral Fund in CO2 versus tonnes, and in the identification of products containing HFCs.

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