Phasing-out Hydrofluorocarbons in South Asia: Issues and way ahead
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) is a halogenated gas and a replacement for ozone-depleting substances (ODS) like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Most ODS’ are also potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) and this includes CFCs and HCFCs which are currently being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. HFCs, on the other hand, have zero ozone-depleting potential (ODP) but high global warming potential (GWP).
HFCs have much lower GWP than CFCs but comparable GWP to that of HCFCs. For instance, the GWP of most commonly used CFCs – CFC-12 – is 10600; most commonly used HCFCs – HCFC-22 – is 1700 and most commonly used HFCs – HFC-134a – is 1300. HFCs are also regarded by some as short-lived climate forcers (SLCF). But a substantial fraction of HFCs have a lifetime of 29 years or less and some like HFC-23 has a lifetime of 270 years. In other words, though HFCs have shorter lifetime than CO2, they have much greater lifetime than SLCF like black carbon (3-8 days), tropospheric ozone (4-18 days) and methane (12 years).
This paper will look at the issues and discuss the political, economic and technological implications of moving the management of HFCs from the UNFCCC to the Montreal Protocol from the perspective of the developing countries.