Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are widely used in the refrigeration,
foam, solvent, aerosol and fire fighting sectors as a transitional
substance to substitute chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). HCFCs are also
used as feedstock (raw material) in the production for other chemical
products. HCFCs were adopted as transitional substitute chemicals
to replace CFCs as they were phased out under the Montreal Protocol.
Approximately 75% of global HCFC use is in air-conditioning and
refrigeration sectors and the main chemical used is HCFC-22.
The potential to contribute to ozone layer depletion and climate
change, if released to the atmosphere. Although HCFCs have considerably
lower ozone depleting potentials than CFCs, they are still damaging
to the ozone layer and therefore controlled under the Montreal Protocol.
HCFCs also have high global warming potentials, of up to 2000 times
that of carbon dioxide.
As of 2007, production of HCFCs is dramatically increasing, particularly
in China and India. HCFC production by developing countries in 1989
was less than 11370 ODP tonnes, but by 2006 this had increased to
more than 26,940 ODP tonnes. Of the production in 2006, China was
responsible for just over 90 percent of this HCFC production. In
developed countries HCFC production has fallen from more than 13,140
ODP tonnes to around 7000 ODP tonnes over the same period. Despite
the reduction in developed countries, the total HCFC global production
has more than doubled over this period, with total HCFC production
standing at more than 34,400 ODP tonnes in 2006. It is expected
that this dramatic rate of growth will increase and it is estimated
that in 2015 HCFC and HFC (hydrofluorocarbons) emissions will be
in the region of two billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.
[Note: When considered in terms of metric tonnes (not ODS tonnes
adjusted to reflect the potential to deplete ozone) this
represents a considerably larger quantity. For example 1 ODS tonne
of HCFC-22 has a mass in metric tonnes of approximately 18.2 tonnes].
The 1995 Vienna Declaration stated that: "Further significant
reductions in the emissions of HCFCs would have a beneficial effect
on the ozone layer". The declaration also noted that HCFCs
were not necessary for the substitution of CFCs since: "
environmentally sound alternative substances and technologies are
commercially available for almost any applications".
Many Parties to the Montreal Protocol have expressed concerns over
the continued use and approval of HCFCs as replacements for CFCs,
as evidenced in several decisions
of the Parties about HCFCs. This culminated in the agreement
for an adjustment to the HCFC phase-out schedule taken at the 19th
Meeting in September 2007: Decision
XIX/6: "Adjustments to the Montreal Protocol with regard to
Annex C, Group I, substances".
In June 2007 the G8 Summit Declaration stated that: "We will
also endeavour under the Montreal Protocol to ensure the recovery
of the ozone layer by accelerating the phase-out of HCFCs in a way
that supports energy efficiency and climate change objectives. In
working together toward our shared goal of speeding ozone recovery,
we recognize that the Clean Development Mechanism impacts emissions
of ozone-depleting substances"
Heiligendamm statement, 7 June 2007
The World Metrological Organization/United State Environment Programme
(WMO/UNEP) 2006 Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion concludes
that recovery of the ozone layer will take longer than expected,
well into the second half of this century, largely because of: "an
increase in HCFC-22 emissions due to larger estimated future production."
The Antarctic ozone hole is not expected to be eliminated until
The accelerated phase out of HCFCs presents an historic opportunity
to not only to significantly reduce the levels of ozone depleting
substances in the atmosphere, but also to have a significant impact
in the climate. "The climate protection already achieved by
the Montreal Protocol alone is far larger than the reduction target
of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Additional
climate benefits that are significant compared with the Kyoto Protocol
reduction target could be achieved by actions under the Montreal
Protocol, by managing the emissions of substitute fluorocarbon gases
[HCFCs] and/or implementing alternative gases with lower global
J.M. Velders et al., 2007
Alternative technologies are commercially available for most applications
that currently use HCFCs, but many countries were not aware of the
HCFC phase out schedule and the recent accelerated timetable. The
major challenge for developing countries will be how to access the
cost-effective and environment-friendly substitutes.
A number of Executive Committee Decisions have stated that, whenever
possible, HCFCs should not be used and that implementing agencies
should note a presumption against HCFCs when preparing projects.
HCFCs should only be recommended in projects where more environment-friendly
and viable alternative technologies are not available. Currently
the Multilateral Fund guidelines prevent funding of any ODS facility
which has already received Multilateral Fund assistance to convert
to HCFCs (or was created since 1995) to transition out of HCFCs.
The agreement to accelerate the HCFC phase-out schedule for developing
countries states that Parties: "Agree that the funding available
through the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal
Protocol in the upcoming replenishments shall be stable and sufficient
to meet all agreed incremental costs to enable Article 5 Parties
to comply with the accelerated phase-out schedule both for production
and consumption sectors as set out above, and based on that understanding,
to also direct the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund
to make the necessary changes to the eligibility criteria related
to the post-1995 facilities and second conversions".
The text of the Adjustment directs the Executive Committee to:
- "in providing technical and financial assistance, to pay
particular attention to Article 5 Parties with low volume and
very low volume consumption of HCFCs";
- "assist Parties in preparing their phase-out management
plans for an accelerated HCFC phase-out";
- "as a matter of priority, to assist Article 5 Parties in
conducting surveys to improve reliability in establishing their
baseline data on HCFCs".
The Adjustment also includes an agreement that the Executive Committee,
will when developing and applying funding criteria for projects
and programmes, focus on:
- " Phasing-out first those HCFCs with higher ozone-depleting
- " Substitutes and alternatives that minimize other impacts
on the environment, including on the climate, taking into account
global-warming potential, energy use and other relevant factors"
of the Parties Decision XIX/6: "Adjustments to the Montreal
Protocol with regard to Annex C, Group I, substances"
From January 2010, the use of virgin HCFCs is prohibited in maintenance
and servicing of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment in
EU countries. Therefore, the consumption of HCFCs in EU countries
will be zero from 2010. The EU has also prohibited HCFC use in aerosols
and solvents (except for some limited specific applications). The
US EPA will ban production and import of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b except
for on-going servicing needs in equipment manufactured before January
1, 2010. As of January 1, 2003, USEPA banned production and import
of HCFC-141b. On March 19, 2007, the USEPA finalised a rule determining
that HCFC-22 is unacceptable to use as a foam blowing agent.
Your countrys national association for the refrigeration
and air conditioning industry is the best place to start. Most have
practical information materials about alternative refrigerants,
contacts for suppliers of non-HCFC technology, training programmes
for refrigeration servicing technicians and other resources available
to assist with the transition to more environmentally-friendly refrigerants.
Individual suppliers of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment
and fluids are also excellent sources of technical information,
and could be your next point of contact, however care must be taken
to evaluate different options from several suppliers, not just the
option presented by one supplier.
Another source of information is your Governments Montreal
Protocol focal point. Each country has a focal point for the implementation
of the Montreal Protocol who can guide you about national policies/regulations
towards HCFCs, and often also information about technologies and
countries (Article 5) | Developed
countries (non-Article 5)
Assistance Programme can also help. We have officers who assist
developing countries in different regions with the management and
phase out of ozone depleting refrigerants, including HCFCs, and
they may be able to provide additional information about the phase
out of HCFC from a regional perspective.
Asia and the Pacific | Europe
and Central Asia | Latin
America and the Caribbean | West
The other Implementing Agencies of the Multilateral Fund likewise
have projects and activities in developing countries to assist with
the phase out of ozone depleting substances and could also provide
useful information. UNDP