During a February 18 United States-India workshop on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the United States and India agreed to convene a joint Task Force that will examine effective approaches to reduce the use of climate-damaging HFCs. The task force is being established in recognition of the challenges faced by the current phaseout of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol). HFCs, adopted as alternatives to HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances, have no ozone-depletion properties yet have high global warming properties.
The newly established Task Force aims to develop options for reducing global HFC use. Deputy Assistant Secretary Daniel Reifsnyder and Joint Secretary (Climate) J.M. Mauskar will co-chair the Task Force, which will include representatives from both governments as well as representatives from industry, scientists and technical experts.
The options considered by the Task Force will send clear policy signals to discourage the use of HFCs and encourage the development and commercialization of low global warming potential alternatives. The options will be designed to provide certainty to the business community about the future of applicable chemicals and technologies. The Task Force will issue a report in August to describe the status of HFC alternatives and examine policy aspects of various approaches that would support a global reduction in HFC use. These include national, industry-to-industry, and international options, such as bilateral approaches between the United States and India and the use of existing international agreements. For example, last year the United States, with its North American partners Canada and Mexico, introduced a proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol to reduce the use of HFCs. The report also will inform a broader, regional meeting on HFCs and the 31st Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, which will be held in Bangkok from August 1-5.