China Proposes Stronger Steps to Protect our Climate and Ozone

EIA – Environmental Investigation Agency, a Washington, DC-based Non-Governmental Organization that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes – informs that on May 21st China proposed a new national plan to tackle hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The plan amends its existing regulations dealing with Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) to cover HFCs and also to strengthen monitoring and enforcement of existing measures. The plan proposes adding HFCs to existing regulations consistent with implementation of the Kigali Amendment, including a quota system that gradually reduces the production and consumption of HFCs for controlled uses such as refrigerants, foaming agents, fire extinguishing agents, solvents, cleaning agents, and aerosols. China is the world’s largest producer of these gases, and manufactures about 70% of the world’s air conditioners.

This draft plan demonstrates a clear intent to tackle these potent greenhouse gases. EIA commends China for initiating this comprehensive process to implement the Kigali Amendment and strengthen enforcement of existing controls over ozone-destroying chemicals,” said Avipsa Mahapatra, Climate Campaign Lead, EIA-U.S. “Combined together with recent intelligence-led enforcement efforts to track down illegal production and use of CFC-11, strong punitive actions and industry-wide awareness campaigns, this new proposed plan gives grounds for hope that China is committed to implementing systemic changes that will bolster the global momentum away from these harmful gases.

The climate crisis we are in today demands urgent global action to ensure we end our reliance on these potent synthetic gases, and China is poised to be a significant leader in the protection of our climate and ozone layer. Hopefully this will pave the way for other major producers and consumers who have not yet signaled a commitment to ratify, notably the United States and India, to also phase-down HFCs,” she added.

Following investigations exposing massive illegal use of potent ODS, CFC-11, in China’s polyurethane foam insulation sector, EIA had urged the Chinese government to undertake comprehensive systemic measures to avoid recurrence of such environmental crimes. Several of the recommended steps are now included in this plan such as:

  • Increased fines and punishment for illegal production and sale of ODS and HFCs and other violations, and a provision encouraging and rewarding citizen reporting of such violations.
  • Improved management and source control through inclusion of raw materials and co-produced substances subject to control measures such as automatic monitoring.
  • Research, development, and application of ODS and HFC detection and monitoring technologies and methods.
  • Finance, taxation and procurement mechanisms to support replacement alternatives, as well as research and technology development to encourage the recovery, recycling and conversion of ODS and HFCs.