Analysis

Fiji Charges Ahead With Phase Out Of Harmful Gases

Fiji has in place a strategy namely, HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) that provides an action plan for the phase-out of these substances which was endorsed by the Cabinet in 2011 after various consultations.
06 May 2020 12:17
Fiji Charges Ahead With Phase Out Of Harmful Gases

Analysis:

For the past several years, the Environment Ministry has been holding stakeholder workshops on a very important issue- phasing out of gases which deplete the ozone layer.

These are gases used in common household white goods such as air conditioning units and refrigerator.

How does this affect you and why are these gases being phased out?

Through the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, countries agreed to phase out harmful gases such as hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC).

Most HCFCs and HFCs used in these applications have global warming potentials that are in the range of 1000 to 4000 times more powerful as greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide.

Some of the low global warming potentials alternatives to HCFCs and HFCs have properties such as higher flammability, higher toxicity and higher pressure that require a significantly different approach than that employed for previous generations of refrigerant technologies, due to the related safety issues.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-22 or R22 is also being phased out by Fiji (R22 is a refrigeration gas used in the air-conditioning units and refrigeration system for the purpose of cooling in the various sectors).

Alternatives such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrocarbon (HCs) will replace R22 depending on the different sector and availability in the market.

For example, in the fishing vessel refrigeration system, the R22 can be replaced by another safer alternative known as HFC-448A.

This also depends on the recommendations made by the Refrigeration Technical Options Committee under the Montreal Protocol.

R22 has high ozone-depleting potential that can substantially deplete the ozone layer.

Fiji has in place a strategy namely, HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) that provides an action plan for the phase-out of these substances which was endorsed by the Cabinet in 2011 after various consultations.

The Department updates the stakeholders on the progress on the phase-out during training, workshops and World Ozone Day celebrations each year.

Annually, the Department conducts an average of 15 events with the stakeholder groups which includes consultation, training and updates based around workshop models for the refrigeration and air-conditioning industry, enforcement agencies (Fiji Revenue and Customs Service/Fiji Police/Fiji Navy/Fiji Ports/National Fire Authority/MSAF) and customs/shipping agents.

Recent stakeholder consultation

The most recent stakeholder consultation based around the phasing-out was held on April 2020.

This is important as R22 emissions can greatly impact on and deplete the ozone layer.

The work being carried out is a requirement of parties under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

This puts Fiji on track to achieving its targets for 2020 and 2040 but as the global phase-out of HCFCs is already underway, this will impact the availability and pricing of ozone-depleting substances such as R22.

You have a number of choices – you can convert your existing equipment to use a retrofit HFC refrigerant, change your equipment or continue to use your current HCFC.

Montreal Protocol treaty

The Montreal Protocol treaty was ratified in 1987 with the aim of globally phasing out ozone-depleting substances used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems.

It has since been signed by 197 countries.

The first and most urgent priority was chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the biggest contributors to ozone depletion.

These have since been virtually phased out on a global basis. Now, governments are implementing legislation to meet hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) phase-out obligations.

Article 5 countries:

According to the Montreal Protocol, developing countries (Article 5) must freeze their HCFC production and consumption at their 2009/2010 baselines by 2013.

Further reductions will come into effect in 2015 (10%), 2020 (35%) and onwards as these countries move towards total consumption phase-out by 2040.

Non-Article 5 countries:

The timeline for developed countries is tighter, providing for complete phase-out by 2020.

Some geographies, such as the European Community, have opted for an accelerated schedule and have almost completed the process.

Others, such as the USA, Japan and Australia, are making substantial progress through usage and quota restrictions.

Most of these nations are therefore already familiar with the challenges involved in phase-out.

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