dsc_0135In celebration of September 16 as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Environmental Management Bureau’s Philippine Ozone Desk in partnership with AksyonKlimaPilipinas along with technical experts, representatives from the private sector and other concerned government agencies are set to discuss the proposed phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), alternatives to ozone-depleting substances(ODS) but also considered as potent greenhouse gases.

The theme for this year’s International Ozone Day, “Ozone and Climate: Restored by a World United,” recognizes the collective efforts of the parties to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol towards the restoration of the ozone layer over the past three decades and the global commitment to combat climate change.

DENR Secretary Regina Paz L. Lopez said that the success of the Montreal Protocol in phasing out ozone-depleting substances has inspired countries all over the world to seek better alternatives for HFCs.

“The Ozone Layer is showing signs of healing due to the collective efforts of nations to protect it. Now, the challenge is to continue the success in ozone layer protection and at the same time ensure that commitments to limit global warming to 1.5°Celsius are met,” Lopez said.

The “Technical Forum on Alternative Substances and Natural Refrigerants for the Ozone Layer and Climate Protection” aims to provide a venue for government and importers of ODS and ODS alternatives as well as civil society partners to address issues in the proposed phased down of HFCs in the country.

On November 6, 2015, parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Dubai Pathway on HFCs. The Philippines is among the countries that submitted the Island Proposal for the amendment of the Montreal Protocol to include the phase-down of HFCs.

EMBDirector Gilbert Gonzales said that the forum also aims to assess HFC use in the Philippines and discuss possible alternatives with industries and affected sectors. The gathering also intends to make the sector understand the Dubai Pathway that would lead to the adoption of an amendment to the Montreal Protocol on a global HFC phase-down in 2016.

Under the Dubai Pathway on HFCs, fiveproposals to phase down HFCs are set to be negotiated on the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda.

HFCs are chemicals used in air conditioning, refrigeration, foams and aerosols as alternatives for many ozone-depleting substances. HFCs production and consumption are increasing due to increased demand for refrigeration and air conditioning, particularly in developing countries.

According to the United Nations Environment Programme, if the current mix of HFCs remains unchanged, HFC emissions of up to 8.8 gigatons carbon dioxide equivalent per year by 2050 can jeopardize the substantial climate benefits achieved through the Montreal Protocol.###