Friday, 28 November 2014

Fwd: mea-l digest: November 25, 2014

MEA-L Digest for Tuesday, November 25, 2014.

1. @IISDRS Summary & Analysis from #Montreal Protocol #MOP26

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Langston James Goree VI <>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:52:45 +0000
Subject: @IISDRS Summary & Analysis from #Montreal Protocol #MOP26

Twenty-sixth Meeting of the Parties (MOP) to the Montreal Protocol and Tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Vienna Convention

17-21 November 2014 
UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) headquarters, Paris, France     



The Tenth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (VC COP10) and the twenty-sixth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MP MOP26) met from 17-21 November 2014, in Paris, France. Over 450 participants from governments, UN agencies, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, academia and industry attended the joint meeting.


The Preparatory Segment met from Monday until Wednesday. On Thursday and Friday, the High-Level Segment (HLS) convened. As the Preparatory Segment was unable to complete its work by Wednesday, it reconvened a number of times during the HLS.


MOP26 adopted eight substantive and seventeen procedural decisions. Substantive decisions adopted include: essential-use exemptions (EUEs) and critical-use exemptions (CUEs); availability of recovered, recycled or reclaimed halons; and a Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) report on alternatives to ozone depleting substances. Procedural decisions adopted include: budget; organizational issues related to the TEAP; the Multilateral Fund (MLF) replenishment; and membership of Montreal Protocol bodies for 2015.


While most of the issues were not contentious, parties spent a number of hours deliberating on the MLF replenishment, the TEAP report on ODS Alternatives, and CUEs and EUEs. Proposed amendments on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and ways to the move the issue forward proved particularly difficult, with parties unable to agree on a mandate for a discussion group going into 2015.


The Summary of this meeting is now available in PDF format

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"Everybody to whom much is given, much is expected"


The Montreal Protocol is often lauded as "the most successful multilateral environmental agreement." Yet, as parties convened during a rainy week in Paris, it was clear that despite its successes, this is not the time for the Protocol to rest on its laurels. On the one hand, delegate after delegate mentioned the brilliant record of the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol in controlling 96 ODS, achieving universal ratification, ensuring a high rate of compliance, providing robust financial and technical support to developing countries to implement the Montreal Protocol on the ground, and creating strong global and national institutions. All of this has resulted in measurable improvements in the health of the ozone layer, and delivered a massive reduction in greenhouse gases―as much as 11 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent―as a side benefit. On the other hand, delegates were still unable to reach agreement on whether or not the Protocol should use its highly successful mechanisms to address damage it may have wittingly or unwittingly caused in the past while phasing out HCFCs.


MOP26 and COP10 successfully addressed a number of issues during the week, including essential-use exemptions, critical-use exemptions, and the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund. Procedural issues, such as consideration of the membership of the Montreal Protocol bodies for 2015, and compliance and reporting, were also addressed. However, the one issue that hung over the meeting like a thick cloud was whether or not the Protocol should be amended to deal with HFCs―introduced by the Protocol as an ODS alternative despite its global warming potential.


While some parties feel they have a moral duty to deal with HFCs even if they are a threat to climate, and the Montreal Protocol has a better chance of dealing with them successfully, others feel they have just committed to transition from HCFCs to HFCs, and appropriate, viable alternatives are not yet available to replace HFCs. The former have put forward a proposal for an amendment to phase-down HFCs. The latter have opposed such an amendment ever since it was first proposed five years ago. The debate is getting increasingly acrimonious, and any hint of progress was quickly vaporized in the past, as it also appeared to be at this meeting.


This brief analysis will consider some of the bumps that may be appearing on the smooth road of the Montreal Protocol, and the fallouts of the overlaps with the climate process.




"There will be bumps in the smoothest roads"


In the minds of many long-time participants in the process, the Montreal Protocol owes its success to consensus, sound science to inform decisions, cooperation, and a congenial atmosphere. All these elements were put to the test at COP10/MOP26.


The definition and role of consensus was much discussed at the meeting, and not just in the context of the HFC amendments. Discussion on releases, breakdown products and opportunities for reduction of releases of ODS, for example, also dealt with reviewing quantities of, and providing information on co- or by-production of ODS, including HFCs. The EU proposed a draft decision on this, but this was opposed by India and China, among others. As Canada suggested discussing this in a group without addressing the draft decision, a situation similar to that of the HFC amendments emerged. Parties debated the interpretation of consensus in this context. India, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, among others, maintained that consensus means unanimous agreement on any topic or decision. Others, including Canada, Switzerland and Cameroon, argued that this approach to consensus was a "recent development" in the Montreal Protocol process and that unanimity was not required for a procedural decision, such as forming a contact group. The former group of countries believed, however, that establishing a contact group with majority rather than universal support may set a dangerous precedent―with an eye, no doubt, on the implications of this decision for the contact group on the HFC amendments. Ultimately, no contact group was established, and the issue of ODS co- and by-production appeared to be hijacked by the HFCs discussion.


In the context of the HFC amendment proposals, the opposition not only to a contact group, but also to "informal discussions on how to discuss," led to concerns, expressed by many parties, that the MOP might be losing its "dedicated, cooperative and collegial spirit." One delegate suggested that in order for the debate to move forward, the definition of consensus may have to be "revisited," or else parties might have to start using the voting procedures that are in place. (While the Montreal Protocol includes provisions for changing the Protocol, in the absence of consensus, by a two-thirds majority vote of both developed and developing countries, the voting procedures have never had to be used.) The need for 100% agreement on every decision the MOP takes is becoming "a recipe for getting nothing done," as the Nigerian delegate lamented in Friday's plenary.


Science and technical expertise, another long-time strength of the Protocol, continued to be politicized in Paris. In Bangkok, the EU had proposed a temporary subsidiary body to assess the economic costs and benefits of various scenarios for the global phase-down of the production and consumption of HFCs. India said it would not be acceptable for the TEAP to provide an assessment of a substance that they consider to fall outside the Montreal Protocol's mandate. Delegates did agree to establish the subsidiary body, however, and asked it to prepare a report that would, inter alia, assess the economic costs and implications and environmental benefits of various scenarios of avoiding high-GWP ODS alternatives. In its report to MOP26, the TEAP found that whereas alternatives do exist in some applications, there are still concerns, such as cost-effectiveness, and use in high ambient temperatures. The US proposed a draft decision requesting the TEAP to assess the technical and economic implications of implementing a global phase-down of HFCs and to investigate deploying climate-friendly alternatives in areas with high ambient temperatures. This was opposed by several countries, including Saudi Arabia and India, with Saudi Arabia saying that assessments regarding HFCs do not fall under the Montreal Protocol.


Cooperation and a congenial atmosphere also appeared to fade, as India, Pakistan and the GCC countries opposed discussing the amendments in a contact group format, with India repeatedly stating that HFCs "belonged" with the UNFCCC. The mood of the negotiations seemed to have become increasingly more acrimonious since the concern about HFCs' global warming potential entered the debate six years ago. Observers in Paris looked out hopefully for potential changes following the high-level discussions that took place recently between the US and India, and the US and China. However, there were only small signals of change from India and China—such as China's willingness to show flexibility on the interpretation of consensus, and the Indian environment minister's assertion that a solution could be found through "mutual confidence and trust." Yet, the mood did not appear to lighten much.


Protracted debates eventually resulted in informal consultations on how to take the discussion on the HFC amendments forward. This small success was ephemeral, however. The US tabled a draft decision late on the final day of the meeting, proposing a contact group or a "group" to consider HFC management. This was met with resistance from several countries, with India questioning whether a draft decision could even be introduced at this late stage. Following a clarification from the Secretariat that the rules of procedure allowed for it, a couple of hurried informal consultations on the US proposal took place outside plenary. When plenary reconvened, an atmosphere of distrust was palpable. China said they were not part of the consultations that took place outside of plenary because they were unable to locate where the consultations were held. Pakistan, meanwhile, said that the revised draft read out by the US did not include the changes agreed in the consultations. Having gone through three iterations, the document was finally rejected as parties were unable to agree on the way forward.




"There are none so distant that fate cannot bring together"


With each passing year, linkages between the Montreal Protocol and the UNFCCC have increased with the overlapping work to reduce greenhouse gases and ODS. This has led some delegates to speculate that the Protocol may be "catching a cold" from the UNFCCC. The lack of trust and procedural quarrels seem to have migrated from one process to the other because of this overlap. Progress under the Montreal Protocol is also now being linked to progress, or lack thereof, under the UNFCCC: Canada observed that when a Montreal Protocol amendment proposal on HFCs was first introduced, parties were told to wait until after the UNFCCC COP 15 in Copenhagen in 2009, then until after Durban in 2011. Now, they are being asked to wait until after the 2015 Climate Conference in Paris.


Another aspect of the influence of the UNFCCC process on the Montreal Protocol is that some of the developed countries pushing for addressing the global warming potential of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol are not perceived as being constructively engaged in the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. This adds to the levels of distrust felt by some developing countries, who suspect the HFC alternatives are being pushed for commercial, rather than environmental, interests.


The remedy, however, may not lie in keeping the two processes apart, as suggested by some parties who preferred to address HFCs solely under the Kyoto Protocol. Instead, as Hanne Inger Bjurstrøm, Norwegian Special Envoy for Climate Change, suggested, ozone management and climate change are two sides of same story, and cannot be solved in isolation. Only time will tell if the two processes can complement, rather than hinder, each other.


This analysis, taken from the summary issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin ©, is written and edited by Elena Kosolapova, Ph.D., Kate Louw, Keith Ripley, and Anju Sharma. The Digital Editor is Sean Wu. The Editor is Pamela Chasek, Ph.D. <>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI <>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the European Commission (DG-ENV and DG-CLIMATE) and the Government of Switzerland (the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN) and the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC)). General Support for the Bulletin during 2014 is provided by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB), the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC). Specific funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the Ozone Secretariat and the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Wallonia, Québec, and the International Organization of La Francophonie/Institute for Sustainable Development of La Francophonie (IOF/IFDD). The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11D, New York, NY 10022 USA.



Langston James "Kimo" Goree VI
Vice President, Reporting Services and United Nations Liaison
International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) -- United Nations Office
300 E 56th St. Apt. 11D - New York, NY 10022  USA
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Email: Mobile phone: +12128107701 Skype: kimogoree Twitter: @kimogoree

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