Parties came to Warsaw looking to take near term action on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), super greenhouse gases hundreds to thousands of times more potent than CO2, but a decision that would have accelerated international cooperation under the Montreal Protocol on these chemicals was withdrawn at the last minute.
“Addressing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol would provide real results in the short term, with more than 2 billion metric tons of CO2 equivalent emissions avoided by 2020,” said Danielle Gagne, HFC & Climate Policy Analyst with EIA. “ Blocking action to phase out HFCs under the Protocol is a missed opportunity for near-term greenhouse gas mitigation; real action has been sacrificed for negotiating tactics.”
This year’s talks have highlighted a growing divide between poor developing countries that stand to lose the most from the lack of action on climate change, and countries that seem willing to hold up progress for tactical reasons. Progress has also been thrown off course by a series of controversies, including host country Poland’s vigorous support for coal-based power, an overwhelming corporate presence, and Australia and Japan announcing moves to dramatically scale back national policies to cut greenhouse gases.
“We’re appalled at the lack of concrete actions on the table”, said Natasha Hurley, Global Environment Campaigner with EIA. “We were expecting the tragedy in the Philippines to inject a sense of urgency into these talks, but instead it has been business as usual.