The HFCs emission targets agreed under the Kigali Amendment are not compatible with the goal of keeping the increase in global temperature at no more than 1.5°C (2.7°F), as stated in the Paris Agreement.
This is the conclusion in a recent study conducted by researchers at the International Institute for Applied System Analysis (IIASA) in Vienna and published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.
“Current ambitions for HFC emissions reductions are not sufficient to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal. A more ambitious target under the Kigali Amendment could still help achieve the Paris goal if countries act early,” Pallav Purohit, lead author on the study and a senior researcher in the Pollution Management Research Group of the IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program.
The study, “Achieving Paris climate goals calls for increasing ambition of the Kigali Amendment,” reports that the discrepancy is mainly due to the way HFC emissions are accounted for in the Kigali Amendment. The emissions are mainly related to the consumption and production of HFCs without a full account of the emissions stemming from manufacturing, uses and equipment disposal.
Using the institute’s own modeling tool, the study authors found that unchecked emissions of HFCs, i.e. without Kigali’s restrictions, would produce more than 92 billion metric tons of CO2e between 2019 and 2050. Kigali should deliver a 60 billion ton reduction, keeping emissions around 32 billion tons of CO2e . However, according to the researchers, a maximum of 16 billion tons must end up in the atmosphere if we are to stay within the 1.5°C temperature increase.
To stay within the limit set out in the Paris Agreement, the study calls for increased and faster action on HFCs. The researchers call for swift action using the “start and strengthen” approach that has been adopted since the adoption of the Montreal Protocol, allowing any actions to be molded according to the latest scientific evidence.
The most effective amendment to Kigali would require all countries to not only achieve a 95% reduction of HFCs by 2050 (rather than 80% or 85%), but to accelerate the cuts before this deadline. For example, developed countries would need to reach 55% reductions by 2025, instead of the 35 to 40% currently required. Developing countries would need to aim for 35% reductions in 2030, compared with 0 to 10%.
These changes would reduce emissions to less than 24 billion tons of CO2e in 2050, still higher than the 16 billion required, but closer to the set temperature increase.
Commenting on the study, the Cool Coalition highlighted that stronger action under the Kigali Amendment would be a chance to replace old cooling equipment with newer, more efficient appliances that use natural refrigerants. The Coalition estimates that such a move could save up to 20% of the expected future global electricity consumption. This would also extend the benefits of the HFCs phase down to other industries, reduce air pollution, improve energy access and cut consumer energy bills.
“Current ambitions for HFC emissions reductions are not sufficient to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C goal. A more ambitious target under the Kigali Amendment could still help achieve the Paris goal if countries act early”Pallav Purohit, IIASA
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