Turkmenistan on track to ratify the Kigali Amendment as part of its new national climate strategy

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The Government of Turkmenistan hosted recently a series of meetings and a full-day stakeholder consultation with high-level Government representatives and experts, during the 3- day visit of Mr. Gilbert Bankobeza, Senior Legal Officer of the Ozone Secretariat in Nairobi, and Mr. Halvart Koeppen, Coordinator of the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) Montreal Protocol Network of UNEP OzonAction in Paris. The objective of their joint mission was to facilitate the early ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, to explain the necessity and advantages of an early ratification of the amendment, and to monitor the progress of the enabling activities project which pursues similarobjectives.

The Kigali Amendment aims to phase-down the production and consumption of high global warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to 80-85% below baseline by 2045-2047, which means over a relatively short period of 25-27 years. Thus, it transformed the MontrealProtocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer into a climate agreement which might avoid global warming by 0.4 degrees Celsius by 2100, if implemented by all parties according to schedule.

This would be a significant contribution to the targets of the Paris Agreement on climate projection which has already been ratified by Turkmenistan. In September 2019, the Honorable President of Turkmenistan, Mr. Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, adopted Turkmenistan’s revised climate strategy which stipulates the ratification of the Kigali Amendment by the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020.

The earlier the ratification takes place, the earlier countries can act and the smoother the phase-down will be. Without early action, the HFC consumption can be expected to grow 10-12% annually and the continued import of HFC equipment will increase dependency on HFCs for servicing existing equipment.

If Article 5 Group 1 countries wait with the ratification until the freeze period in 2024- 2028, as they could, their HFC consumption will have grown significantly above the baseline and more HFC equipment will have been imported requiring increasing amounts of HFCs for servicing. Nevertheless, countries would need to reduce their consumption below the baseline level shortly after ratification and without additional financial support. This might require a “forced reduction” through imposed import quotas rather than reducing the demand for HFCs. In such situation, usually HFC prices increase and illegal trade is blooming. Such situation could be avoided by an early ratification.

Understanding the HFC phase-down also helps to gain confidence that the targets can be met. In most sectors, alternative technologies are readily available and could be introduced on a large scale in the local market. And for the more difficult sectors, HFCs will still be available for servicing since it is not a phase-out.

Also, the fact that some high-global warming HFCs will be replaced by lower-global warming p HFCs will allow import of bigger quantities of lower global warming HFC since consumption, imports and quota are measured in CO2 equivalents and not in metric tons. Some enabling conditions are required such as the availability of training service technicians on the safe use of flammable, high pressure and toxic refrigerants or the adoption of safety standards. An important aspect is also the cut-off date of 2020 for new HFC installations, which means that HFC installations such as chillers installed in 2020 or later will not be eligible for financial assistance to convert to alternative refrigerants.

Article 5 countries which have already ratified, are eligible to include preparatory projects in the business plans of the implementing agencies for 2020 and might submit their HFC phase-down projects for approval in 2021 once the funding guidelines have been agreed. This would allow them taking early action e.g. implementing policy measures, providing training and certification on the safe use of flammable, high pressure and toxic refrigerants, adopting safety and performance standards and establishing equipment log-books. The later the ratification takes place, the longer will be the funding gap between enabling activities projects and the preparation of HFC phase-down projects, and the later related activities will be initiated.

Early ratification means shorter funding gap

Countries might also consider that the indirect emissions from the power production are much more important that the direct emissions from refrigerant leakages. Thus, the aspect of energy- efficiency needs to be considered in any HFC phase-down strategy and progressive countries should consider public procurement policies, energy efficiency labelling, minimum energy- performance standards (MEPs), incentive schemes and financial instruments.

In the Europe and Central Asia region, Albania, Armenia and Montenegro already ratified the Kigali Amendment. Kyrgyzstan expects ratification shortly and Serbia also intends to ratify early 2020. Globally, 86 countries ratified as of 23 October 2019. The Ozone Secretariat is looking forward to the 100st ratification before the end of 2019. Go for it !

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