Climate change: moving slowly but surely

During the International meeting on the Montreal Protocol that took place in Geneva in June 2010 (see Newsletter No. 43, July 2010), proposals to phase down HFCs using the tools of the Montreal Protocol were discussed again. They were presented later during the meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol in order to be adopted (Bangkok, Thailand, November 2010). A kind of consensus within developed countries and some developing countries emerged in favour of the North American proposal (see Newsletter No. 43). However, emerging countries (Brazil, China, India) were clearly against this proposal and no decision could be made. But discussions will not stop. This issue will be discussed again by an open-ended working group in June 2011 and yet again during the next meeting of the Parties of the Montreal Protocol inBali, Indonesia, in November 2011. In between, bilateral discussions will take place and promotion of alternatives to current HFCs (natural refrigerants, low Global Warming Potential [GWP] HFCs and mixtures) will continue. For instance, side events promoting the North American proposal were organized by the proposing countries during the United Nations Conference on Climate Change that took place in Cancún, Mexico, in December 2010. During the conference in Cancún, a framework of tools for a new worldwide agreement on climate change (commitments of countries on greenhouse gas emissions, technology transfer and assistance provided to developing countries) was adopted. Even if no decision will be made before the next UN Conference on Climate Change which will take place in Durban, South Africa, on November 28 to December 9, 2011, and even if there are still a lot of uncertainties about the will of countries to really agree on strong commitments, we are now in a new process. New regulations on energy (energy savings, renewables…) will take place in various countries and pressure on various sectors emitting greenhouse gases, including of course refrigeration and air conditioning, will continue. The IIR, as an intergovernmental organization, delivered a statement during the plenary sessions of the Bangkok and Cancún meetings and held a stand in Bangkok in order to promote its activities and publications. It actively participated in these meetings and discussions in order to promote what we consider as reasonable decisions: we need to progressively move towards low-GWP refrigerants in general and natural refrigerants in particular. But we also need to take into account the energy efficiency of equipment and systems, the cost of new equipment and the lifespan of equipment.