EIA report challenges Montreal Protocol on CFC-11

By Michael Garry, Nov 06, 2018, 01:12 4 minute reading

updated at: Nov 06, 2018, 18:04

The NGO’s new study, which includes further data implicating Chinese foam makers, advises MOP 30 to take action on ozone-depleting refrigerants.

Quito, Ecuador, location of MOP 30.

As the 30th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol takes place this week in Quito, Ecuador, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has issued a report on the potential impact of ozone-depleting CFC-11 use in China, with recommendations for action aimed at the meeting’s participants.

The report, 'Tip of the Iceberg: Implications of Illegal CFC Production and Use,' follows an EIA report released in July alleging that CFC-11 was used by 18 Chinese companies as a blowing agent in the production of polyurethane (PU) foam. That report followed one published in Naturein May concluding that emissions of CFC-11 has been increasing at a rate of 25 +/-13% since 2012 in East Asia.

In the wake of the initial reports, China has taken action to investigate and enforce its laws regarding ODS production and use. But Avipsa Mahapatra, head of the climate change campaign at the EIA, told the New York Times that  Chinese authorities should make thorough regulatory changes that make underground CFC-11 production impossible. “Simply clamping down a few enterprises without systemic changes could mean that similar illegal enterprises pop up in other regions,” she said.

In addition, at the 40th Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) of the Montreal Protocol, held in Vienna, Austria, in July, assessment panels were charged with providing information on the increase in CFC-11 emissions and potential sources of CFC-11.

The new EIA report offers additional information and analysis regarding the illegal use and trade in CFC-11. “The scale and impact of the illegal trade demonstrates that the Montreal Protocol’s current compliance and enforcement regime is not fit-for-purpose and requires modernization," said the report. "This is particularly urgent considering the entry into force of the Kigali Amendment in 2019, which will present new challenges to all Parties.”

This report also includes new independent laboratory test results that confirm the use of CFC-11 in three enterprises previously identified by EIA, reinforcing the credibility of their statements that CFC-11 was the predominant blowing agent used at these facilities. The companies are: Dacheng Aoyang Chemical Co. Ltd.; Dacheng Shengshi Tianchuang Chemical Co., Ltd.; andDacheng Desheng Chemical Co., Ltd.

The new EIA report noted the creation of a new “CFC-11 bank” and uncertainties over emissions from the historical CFC bank. “This issue has not received attention from the Montreal Protocol for almost a decade; a new analysis of ODS and HFC banks is well overdue,” said the report.

The report also pointed to the need “better monitoring of feedstock production and uses,” noting that “close to 500,000 tonnes were reported as production in 2016,” with CFCs, CTC and methyl chloroform accounting for 97% of that production, including over 156,000 tonnes of CFCs for feedstock uses.

The scale and impact of the illegal trade demonstrates that the Montreal Protocol’s current compliance and enforcement regime is not fit-for-purpose and requires modernization."

The EIA report includes several recommendations aimed at the Montreal Protocol, including:

  • Conduct a comprehensive review of the monitoring and enforcement regime of the Montreal Protocol (including all past decisions on illegal trade in ODS), in order to ensure compliance with ODS controls and prepare for new controls on HFCs.
  • Ensure that the current global system of atmospheric monitoring stations and satellites is maintained and enhanced to ensure it can continue to act as an early warning system for supporting compliance with Montreal Protocol controls.
  • Initiate a task force to examine current and future ODS and HFC banks, and mitigation scenarios.
  • Initiate a task force to examine current and future feedstock uses and alternatives to the use of controlled substances as feedstocks.

 The EIA report also had recommendations for the Parties (countries) to the Montreal protocol, including:

  • Undertake national measures to ensure that CFC-containing polyols are not being imported, including legislative measures, customs inspections and testing of polyols and foams and testing of large tanks such as ISO tanks.
  • Implement a fit-for-purpose licensing system which includes ODS- and HFC-containing polyols, as well as HFOs and other ODS/HFC substitutes that may be used to disguise illegal trade.
  • Explore new technologies and methods available for undertaking design and implementation of modern national traceability systems that could provide end-to-end visibility of production, transport and use of controlled substances.
  • Report on cases of illegal ODS trade and include information on export destinations and source countries of imports in reporting.

By Michael Garry

Nov 06, 2018, 01:12

Related stories

Sign up to our Newsletter

Fill in the details below