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China Officially Accept the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

HFCs will be further controlled to gradually reduce climate warming, which will benefit the development of disposal and treatment technologies of the HFCs and promote the replacement by more environmentally friendly alternatives.

On June 21st, 2020, the China Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) issued an announcement [1] that the Permanent Mission of China to the United Nations has deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations a letter of acceptance by the Chinese government of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (hereinafter referred to as the Kigali Amendment) on June 17th, 2021. The Kigali Amendment will take effect in China on September 15th, 2021.

The Montreal Protocol was reached in 1987 to phase out the production and use of ozone-depleting chemicals. Thanks to the joint efforts of the contracting states and the international community, the world has successfully eliminated more than 99% of ozone-depleting substances. China joined the protocol in 1991 and became a party to the protocol. In 2016, the parties to the Montreal Protocol reached the Kigali Amendment, which aims to limit and control the greenhouse gas hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are a type of synthetically potent greenhouse gases and one of the main substitutes for ozone-depleting substances. Their global warming potential (GWP) is tens to tens of thousands of times that of carbon dioxide. HFCs are widely used, involving industries such as automobile air conditioning, household refrigeration, industrial and commercial refrigeration, fire protection, foam, aerosols, etc.

The Kigali Amendment controls 18 kinds of HFCs:

  • Group I: HFC-134, HFC-134a, HFC-143, HFC-245fa, HFC-365mfc, HFC-227ea, HFC-236cb, HFC-236ea, HFC-236fa, HFC-245ca, HFc-43-10mee, HFC-32, HFC-125, HFC-143a, HFC-41, HFC-152, HFC-152a;

  • Group II: HFC-23.

According to the amendment, The Group 1 developing countries, including China, should gradually reduce the production and use of HFCs from 2024, as shown in the figure below. 

Besides, the following obligations shall also be filled up:

  • Ensure that the HFC-23 produced by each HCFCs or HFCs production facility should be destroyed as much as possible using the approved technology in the same year;

  • Within three months of the amendment’s entry into force, establish and implement the HFCs import and export license management system;

  • From January 1, 2033, parties to the Kigali Amendment are prohibited from trading in HFCs with non-parties;

  • Submit annual data on HFCs production, import and export, etc., and submit annual HFC-23 emissions data for each production facility.

After the amendment enters into force in China, relevant industries will be impacted. First, for HFC-23, the incineration and decomposition technology development and resource utilization will be accelerated. Second, environmentally friendly alternative refrigerants, foaming agents, and cleaning agents will be more popular, while old products may be eliminated. At last, China's emerging carbon trading market will therefore get more trading opportunities and thus further develop (ChemLinked News [2]).

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