The Australian government has passed legislation to phase down HFCs from 2018 and deliver an 85% reduction by 2036.
Parliament House, Canberra, Australia
In a demonstration of its commitment to achieving its Montreal Protocol obligations, the Australian government has successfully passed a bill to amend the existing Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management (OPSGGM) Act by adding an HFC phase-down plan.
Both houses of parliament passed the bill, introduced in March, on 19 June.
The new bill, entitled the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Legislation Amendment Bill 2017, obliges Australia to start phasing down HFC imports from 2018 to achieve its Kigali target of an 85% reduction by 2036. No HFCs are manufactured in Australia itself.
“The Coalition Government's early action on passing this legislation demonstrates our continued international leadership and will constitute a significant domestic [greenhouse gas] emissions reduction of up to 80 million tonnes,” said Josh Frydenberg, Australia’s minister for the environment and energy.
“The bill will achieve these environmental outcomes at the same time as significantly cutting red tape, including reducing the number of businesses required to hold a license by one third, halving the reporting obligations, and reducing the number of invoices sent by 94%,” Frydenberg said.
“The Coalition Government's early action on passing this legislation demonstrates our continued international leadership and will constitute a significant domestic [greenhouse gas] emissions reduction of up to 80 million tonnes.”
– Environment and Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg
The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, agreed in October of last year, puts in place an HFC emission reduction plan that is estimated to save up to 72 billion tonnes in carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions by 2050.
Greg Picker, executive director of Refrigerants Australia – a refrigerant suppliers and users group – said the legislation would grant industry long-term regulatory certainty and deliver an improved environmental outcome.
“Refrigerants Australia has long contended that a predictable phase-down in HFCs can assist the industry and deliver a range of benefits including reduced costs to consumers, better performance of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, improved energy efficiency and significant emission reductions,” said Picker.
The reduction scheme will begin on 1 January 2018 with a 25% reduction of the baseline granted to Australia under the Kigali Amendment.
Hailing the passage of the bill, Senator Louise Clare Platt, representing the opposition Labor Party, said: "Although hydrofluorocarbons make up only 2% of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions, their contribution to our emissions has been increasing, because they have been used to replace other ozone-depleting chemicals that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.”
“This bill now means that Australia's phase-down is consistent with the international HFC phase-down under the Protocol that was agreed in Kigali in October last year,” Pratt said.
“A predictable phase-down in HFCs can […] deliver a range of benefits including reduced costs to consumers, better performance of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, improved energy efficiency and significant emission reductions.”
– Greg Picker, Refrigerants Australia
Mark Padwick, president of manufacturers group the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers of Australia (AREMA), said it would give industry the regulatory certainty it needs to invest in new technologies.
“Manufacturers must contend with a range of issues when they select which refrigerant to use. They need to consider safety for the consumer, energy efficiency, cost, suitability and environmental impacts,” Padwick said.
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