Environment Secretary Roy A. Cimatu on Thursday appealed to the refrigeration and airconditioning sector to support the gradual phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are powerful greenhouse gases (GHG) contributing largely to global warming.
The environment chief made the appeal as the country joins the rest of the world in celebrating the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer on September 16, which also marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the landmark Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone.
According to Cimatu, the gains from the Montreal Protocol, particularly the phaseout of several ozone-depleting substances (ODS), are being threatened by the use of HFCs as alternative refrigerants.
"HFCs are not ODS, but are potent GHG which can have high global warming potentials and are rapidly increasing in the atmosphere," Cimatu warned.
"Without any mechanism to control HFCs, it is predicted that its emissions could negate the climate benefits achieved by the Montreal Protocol," he added.
Commonly used in refrigerators and airconditioning systems, the HFCs are called "super greenhouse gases" with a warming effect that can be several thousand times greater than carbon dioxide.
HFCs were developed after the phaseout of the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons required by the Montreal Protocol in 1987.
The climate benefit of reducing HFC emissions has been widely recognized, leading to an amendment of the Montreal Protocol, known as the Kigali Amendment, calling for developed countries to start to phase down HFCs by 2019 and in developing countries including the Philippines to follow with a freeze by 2024.
Adopted on October 15, 2016 in Rwanda and expected to enter into force on Jan. 1, 2019, the Kigali Amendment aims to avoid nearly half a degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century.
Cimatu said the Philippines can greatly benefit from the financial and technical support provided under the Montreal Protocol for parties to the Kigali Amendment.
He noted that the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol has provided over US$3.5 billion to developing countries to phase out ODS.
"This can definitely help affected sectors in the country to transition from HFCs to natural climate-friendly alternatives, such as carbon dioxide, ammonia and hydrocarbons which do not cause global warming," he pointed out. # Adapted News/www.denr.gov.ph