The Volcan and Théâtre de l’Hôtel de Ville of Le Havre in France welcomed record 7000 attendees, more than 300 business leaders, NGO representatives, thinkers and change-makers from all over the world, (more…)
Hoardings on ‘ Poverty Eradication’ inside and outside the audaciously lavish Headquarters of World Bank in Washington DC, that I had visited number of times, is the most prominent contrast and dichotomy that I have ever seen. (more…)
Dr. Vandana Shiva’s power words . Let us celebrate the 22nd of April which is now Mother’s Earth Day (more…)
The developing countries are poised to be the precious solar and biomass mines of the renewable energy that will be increasingly sought by the developed countries. The history will repeat , except that instead of exploring for for spices now the developed country explorers will seek solar energy.
Renewable energy will account for the majority of worldwide power capacity growth over the next 15 years.
Investment for power generation infrastructure is migrating from the developed economies in the North to the developing economies, in political known as “global south” and from digging underground like for fossil fuels to flapping in the skies and riding on the oceans.
A message that I gave in my speech to engineering and research students from Sahakar Maharshi Shankarrao Mohite Patil Institute of Technology and Research was:
“ Renewable energy will empower youth in the developing and emerging economies like India. India has the potential to become important country for export of renewable energy technology and equipment. The hidden potential for employment opportunities could be realized if competitiveness and innovation in renewable energy new trade potential. Consistent policy prioritizing the innovation and deployment of renewables is essential.”
Watch the presentation that I gave :
Speech by Rajendra Shende, Chairman TERRE Policy Centre at Workshop in side event in Bangkok
My long journey in United Nations has more than proved that global environmental negotiations pose complex diplomatic challenges and formidable legal conundrums. (more…)
Jeffrey D. Sachs presents how global citizens can take a holistic pathway forward to address the seemingly intractable worldwide problems of persistent extreme poverty, environmental degradation, and political-economic injustice: sustainable development.
I was there in audience in New York when UN Secretary General gave this speech. Will be useful to see how much of these passionate promises, rocky determinations and financial commitments get realized.
“By 2030, the Protocol may be preventing 2 million cases of skin cancer each year. It will have prevented significant loss of food crops which in turn would have compounded future severe food security challenges” Achim Steiner, USG and ED of UNEP.
Distinguished delegates, Dear colleagues,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you today to the joint meeting of the Conference of the parties to the Vienna Convention and the parties to the Montreal Protocol.
As we gather here, other events are forming around us. We are now on the eve of 2015, a year which will mark 30 years since the adoption of one of the most successful environmental conventions, the Vienna Convention and also a year of important negotiations – economy, sustainable development , climate change.
Overview / Setting the scene
Your work on ozone-depleting substances is one of the greatest success stories of international environmental management in global partnership with universal ratification.
Great success not only of science informing policy, of nations acting together on the basis of science via the Montreal Protocol, but also a shining example of using the United Nations as a platform upon which technology development, technology transfer and financing have been implemented successfully to reach the objective of protecting the global commons. I intentionally left out capacity building just to give emphasis on one of the most precious tools that you have in your hands, the fact that every developing country has its own ozone officer with the respective infrastructure that accompanies him/her. Your decisions have empowered you with the resources and the knowledge to act.
The Montreal Protocol has been and will continue to be a journey of success, a journey of challenge and a journey of hope. Success because of the Protocol’s achievements; Challenge because of the recognized imperative to maintain the world’s commitment to phasing out ozone-depleting substances; and Hope because by combining international efforts where we come to see the common interest, we can achieve further breakthroughs in protecting the environment and human wellbeing.
The success and tangible results
In this journey of almost 30 years now, we have succeeded not only through the commitment of all parties but also through the daily choices of all individuals around the world, to phase out more than 98% of ozone-depleting substances.
So, what does this achievement mean?
When people ask “why do these achievements matter for me” or “why does the ozone hole matter for me?” you can very proudly respond that by 2030, the Protocol may be preventing 2 million cases of skin cancer each year. It will have prevented significant loss of food crops which in turn would have compounded future severe food security challenges. Your Environmental Effects Assessment Panel provides you with this information. According to the US EPA, with the 1997 amendment of the Montreal Protocol, 22 million additional new cataract cases avoided for Americans born between the years 1985 and 2100.
As a result of your coordinated efforts, our planet has responded. According to the latest assessment from the Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol that I had the honour to launch in the second week of September, the world avoided a global problem by getting rid of ozone-depleting substances via the Montreal Protocol.
Without the Protocol, we would probably have seen large ozone layer depletions around the globe and Antarctic ozone hole would be larger and deeper today. And with it, we are starting now to see encouraging signs that the ozone layer is on track to recovery by the middle of this century. The Earth is healing itself because we are taking away the ozone depleting substances.
This recovery sends to the global community three powerful messages directly to policy:
- First, we needed strong global partnership and united action to achieve results,
- Second, we needed to be patient and persistent to see the positive results of our actions. It can take a significant amount of time for vital support systems on the planet to recover. Simply turning off the source of emission doesn’t immediately solve the problem.
- Third, a decision taken at one point in time will bring results much later in the future and this need to be factored into any international discussions and negotiations.
The success and the unintended side effect
Ozone layer protection has contributed a lot to climate change mitigation. Although the parties have been mindful of not causing adverse impacts on the environment, the climate change effects of HFCs in the future may off-set the good work done by the Montreal Protocol in climate change mitigation if not addressed.
Science provides us with a much clearer understanding today that we are dealing here with an issue that couples the ozone layer with climate change. Between these two, there are connections in science, in man-made emissions that cause them and in the policy options for dealing with them.
Key issues on the agenda of the meeting
I would like to turn to some key issues on the agenda of the meeting and first of all the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund.
The replenishment of the Multilateral Fund for the 2015 to 2017 triennium will enable the continuation of the HCFC phase out activities.
As developing countries grow, they will produce more refrigeration and air conditioning systems not only to improve their standards of living but for export around the globe. The more countries become developed, more energy will be needed, and more chemicals will be used.
Many developing countries are rightly addressing energy efficiency as a primary concern. Addressing energy efficiency in the HCFC phase out process, especially in the refrigeration and air conditioning sectors, can play an important role for ensuring technology choices that benefit the ozone layer, reduce the climate impact and reduce energy consumption.
This is the equation of multiple benefits and triple dividends that the countries have to achieve. Only in this way will it be possible to capture the HCFC phase out as an opportunity for making the right technology choice and investments.
Negotiation of the replenishment of the Multilateral Fund comes at a critical stage when developing countries are in the midst of planning and implementing the HCFC phase-out activities and many developed countries are facing financial difficulties. It is a challenge to ensure continuity of the world’s first financial mechanism of its kind that has been at the foundation of the Montreal Protocol’s global partnership. A successful outcome of sufficient replenishment that will enable climate friendly choices will have implications that uphold an impact for several years to come, and send a profound signal for the Montreal Protocol moving forward on all of the challenges ahead.
But money is not the only concern for developing countries.
There are issues such as technical questions on the availability of low GWP alternatives for phasing out HCFCs, the costs involved and the real technology transfer that need to be addressed.
So, the question we face is how we can best make the transition to HCFC phase-out through a very successful instrument like the Montreal Protocol, and by best using the Multilateral Fund which precisely is here to help countries access technology which previously had been out of their reach.
Our challenge is to ensure access to technology and development of technology appropriate for all regions including those with hot climates by addressing at the same time intellectual property concerns. The ingenuity of the Montreal Protocol is its flexibility, to use regulatory framework to allow science to become the foundation for a market-compatible deployment strategy. Industries around the world are also hearing the messages of the Montreal Protocol and are responding as they have done in the past.
In order for the global partnership between the developed and the developing countries to work, we must continue to build on the foundation of the “principle of common but differentiated responsibilities” and “fairness”.
The discussion on high GWP or low GWP alternatives for HCFC phase out is a discussion that takes place at a period when the low GWP alternatives are gaining a market niche globally due to national or regional policy measures.
We need to recognize all of these factors in the discussions that are taking place.
Otherwise, resulting banks, “waste banks”, the sources of future emissions will be huge.
We all need to see the wider picture.
We have ahead of us a difficult year of negotiations.
Negotiations that will have an impact on climate, on our planet, on our lives.
Negotiations under the UNFCCC that will have an impact on the energy choices we make.
Negotiations under the Montreal Protocol that will have an impact on the chemicals we use.
The issue is not always to compare the two options but to go forward with steps that will have a positive impact and that can help discussions in other international fora as well to move forward.
Successful implementation to achieve sustainable development as an ultimate goal has to rely on relevant tools, sound governance structures and enhanced capacity to respond. This is exactly the success story that the DNA of the Montreal Protocol has delivered in continuing to inspire and catalyze us to further action in facing the challenges ahead. Addressing many of them may not be easy, but with the spirit of cooperation, openness, fairness and respect for all views, I am confident we can achieve our ambitions.
The commitment that helped to breathe life back into the ozone layer is still with us – we only need to tap into it.
– See more at: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?l=en&DocumentID=2813&ArticleID=11077#sthash.zCLKGqCB.dpuf
This year is 325th anniversary of the French revolution that changed the world, and India hopes to see in Paris next year in 2015, yet another revolution on climate change to reset the world clock towards climate resilient society.
This meeting marks the mid-point to the implementation of the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and its Aichi Targets. It offers a unique opportunity to take stock and evaluate progress to ensure we are on track in achieving common goals. The outcome of the meeting will also contribute to the discussion around the critical links between biodiversity and long-term human development, in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.
I would like to begin by sharing with you a rather simple reflection; one which, in many ways, underpins the purpose of our mission: what distinguishes Earth is that it is the only planet in our solar system that harbours life. And what is extraordinary about life is its diversity: More than 90 million types of plants, animals and other life-forms inhabit the planet. So do 7 billion people, soon to grow to 9 billion.
There is ample evidence that the pressure humanity is placing on the planet has exceeded life’s support systems. Species’ extinctions are continuing at up to 1,000 times or more the natural rate, according to IUCN figures.
Global Biodiversity Outlook 4, which offers a thorough assessment of the state of the world’s biodiversity, reveals that despite increased financial investment in protecting biodiversity, it will be difficult to meet the Aichi targets due to accumulated and increased pressures on the natural world.
Unless we do more – and do it fast – our actions will continue to dismantle the very fabric of the natural world.
Species will continue to disappear at an alarming rate; the functioning of ecosystems and their ability to provide society with the goods and services they need to prosper will be altered, and our natural capital will diminish.
18,788 species out of 52,017, so far assessed by IUCN, are threatened with extinction.
From habitat destruction and climate change to land degradation and pollution, the drivers of biodiversity loss continue to grow in severity.
Habitat loss and degradation are identified as the main threat to 85 per cent of all species described in the IUCN’s Red List.
Decreasing wetland extent and declining coral cover reflect large-scale habitat loss.
More than 500 million people globally depend on coral reefs for protection against sea level rise and for their livelihoods, yet, 70 per cent of reefs are threatened or destroyed.
And while around half of all original forests have disappeared, the remaining forest cover is being removed at a rate 10 times higher than any possible level of regrowth.
Ecosystem services losses in SE Asia from the predicted destruction of mangroves from 2000 to 2050 are estimated at more than US$ 2 billion.
The clearance of 17 million hectares of tropical forest annually puts the lives of at least half of the Earth’s species – which inhabit these forests – in great danger.
We are witnessing what is by far the greatest biodiversity loss, comparable in its magnitude only to when dinosaurs disappeared from the face of the planet 65 million years ago.
The impacts of biodiversity loss are irreversible and pose a serious threat to human well-being, and to life on earth.
These facts should not be interpreted in the context of a ‘doom and gloom’ scenario, but should be seen as elements of the challenge that we need to bravely confront and effectively manage.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is up to us – here and now – to build momentum, strengthen political will and take decisive measures to keep the Aichi Targets on track.
Evidence shows that the Aichi targets are still within reach and substantial progress is being made on a number of them, for example:
- Certification schemes for forests and fisheries are becoming more widespread. Policy interventions have resulted in reduced deforestation and led to better managed fish stocks in a number of regions.
- There are more financial resources made available to address biodiversity issues, though more investment is still needed to meet all the targets.
- Protected areas are one of the most effective tools for conserving species and natural habitats. Well-planned and well-managed protected areas can help to safeguard freshwater and food supplies, reduce poverty, and reduce the impacts of natural disasters.
- And the good news here is that the terrestrial area of the planet protected for biodiversity is increasing steadily, as recent assessments show, and the designation of marine protected areas is accelerating.
- Nearly a quarter of countries have already passed the target of protecting 17 per cent of their land area. At the current rate of growth we are on track to meeting the percentage targets for terrestrial areas by 2020. While achieving the marine component requires additional efforts.
- The Nagoya Protocol enters into force in 6 days’ time. 51 parties to the CBD have ratified it, so far, in advance of the 2015 deadline. This opens up opportunities for the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the utilization of genetic resources. At the same time, Parties need to put in place the institutional, legislative and administrative structures for implementation.
Each of the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, however, cannot be tackled in isolation. Actions towards certain targets will have an especially strong influence on the achievement of the rest.
UNEP is delighted to be supporting many countries in developing their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, contributing to their efforts to identify appropriate indicators and design associated monitoring schemes to reach the Aichi Targets.
We are pleased to see that biodiversity-related treaties, like the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS), are feeding into the process. We also continue to work with important partners such as the Global Environment Facility, UNDP and, of course, the CBD Secretariat.
With the progress achieved so far, it is clear that plausible pathways exist to end biodiversity loss and acheive global goals in areas such as climate change, land degradation and sustainable development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The current sustainable development agenda provides an opportunity to bring biodiversity into the mainstream of the broader development agenda.
Meeting the Aichi Biodiversity Targets would contribute significantly to the broader global priorities addressed by the post-2015 development agenda, namely; reducing hunger and poverty, improving human health and ensuring a sustainable supply of energy, food and clean water.
But to achieve those objectives we need to use natural resources more efficiently and to rethink and transform our consumption patterns.
Without pre-empting the UNGA process, in particular the Ad Hoc Open Ended Informal Working Group for Biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, countries need to continue to progress towards a decision that will ensure the conservation and wise use of biodiversity in areas that most of us will never visit, but are key to our survival. Oceans are the next engine for sustainable economic growth which can only be realised if biodiversity, features prominently and allows for wise management for humankind.
It is true thousands of species are teetering on the edge of extinction. But whether or not they tip over depends in large part on our actions today.
This meeting is a critical opportunity to inject renewed impetus into our commitment to reach the Aichi Targets and to shape the Sustainable Development Goals by revisiting national strategies and plans that have been designed to ensure more efficient use of land, water, energy and materials.
This meeting should act as a timely reminder to all that ‘business as usual’, in our present patterns of behaviour, will not get us to the vision of a world with ecosystems capable of meeting human needs into the future.
We now have a valuable opportunity to renew our support for policy, legislation and international conventions that will help us reach our common goals for a more equitable and sustainable future.
In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Korea, especially Prime Minister Jung Hong-won and Minister Yoon Seong-kyu, for their unwavering commitment and efforts towards the success of this event.
President Obama speech at U.N. Climate Change Summit
United Nations Headquarters
New York, New York
23 Sept 2014
The Indian Institutes of Technology Alumni Canada (IITAC), in collaboration with PanIIT-USA, hosted the PanIIT 2014 International Conference in Toronto, from June 6 to 8, 2014. (more…)
Top 10 quotes on environment : When our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did. (more…)
Al Gore, Nobel Laureate stated that President Obama’s speech on June 25 2013 at Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.as the best ‘by any president ever’. But does it provide leadership for the world? Not until he walks the talk. Here is that Monumental speech. (more…)
Without global alliance for collective and collaborative effort not only on the HFC phase down but enhancing the energy efficiency of the Refriegration and AC appliances, the Montreal Protocol could turn into the glaring example of global complacency leading to climate disaster.
Humanity has been receiving the wake up calls for long to warn about bio-diversity losses and depletion of the natural resources. (more…)
I was invited to speak In New Delhi in the function of Earth Care Awards, instituted by Times of India and Jindal Steel Works on 9th Sept 2011 . The Speech: (more…)
2009 USEPA’s Stratospheric Ozone Protection and Climate Protection Awards
Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington DC,
By Rajendra Shende, UNEP DTIE ,
21 April 2009
Ms. Elizabeth Craig, award winners, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
My hearty congratulations to the award winners and my sincere appreciation to USEPA for admirable organization of this evening’s momentous award ceremony in the landmark venue of Washington DC. I consider it as immense privilege to address such a distinguished gathering and I thank the organizers for giving me this distinctive opportunity.
What a day it was for me! In a single day, in Washington today, I met a Governor, a Senator, officials of EPA. NGO and Industry representatives and the action-enthusiasts who ‘just want to do it’. The spring is not only on the DC’s trees and around the Potomac river, I felt it in minds of the people. I smelled hope, I felt the change and I saw the signs of actions to address the climate change.
I was here in 2005 to accept the USEPA Ozone Protection award. Four year later, here I am again for the Climate Protection award. Getting such award in this ambience replete with hopes of change is rewarding experience.
Today I will receive 2009 Climate protection award. My colleague Samira De Gobert would receive Ozone layer protection award. We work in the same office, for same programme with same objective. We promote single solution to two of the world’s most formidable challenges that we are facing today.
I do not intend to speak on how the Montreal Protocol is the most successful global environmental accord so far. Nor am I standing here to draw the list of lessons from the Montreal Protocol. I am aware that there is, to a certain degree, an “ozone’s success fatigue” and even what some of you in a lighter mood might call yet another global crisis: the “ozone success crisis”.
What I wish to convey this evening , however , are the compelling messages emanating from another part of the world – the world where I come from and for whose assistance my programme in UNEP’s offices in Paris, Bangkok, Nairobi, Bahrain and Panama city is dedicated to.
From Afghanistan to Argentina, Maldives to Mali, from Iraq to Ivory Coast, and from Peru to Pakistan, the messages resonate :
- Firstly, That developing countries who are just eight months away from the finish line of 1st January 2010, are all set to put CFCs and Halons in the history book,
- Secondly, That number of countries including India and China, , have shut off their production plants of CFCs and Halons much ahead of the target dates stipulated in the Montreal Protocol
- Thirdly, That the ratification of the Montreal Protocol is now almost universal, a feat achieved by no other global agreement so far. Only two countries, East Timor, a developing country, and Saint Marino a developed country, have yet to ratify the Protocol.
Without dedication of the governments and commitments from industries in the developing countries, persuasive backing by developed countries experts like Dr Steve Andersen and technical and policy experts from TEAP/IPCC and without tireless work of my colleagues from UNEP, I would not have been able standing here to convey you these messages.
Let me not spend time much time on what you already know as to how the Montreal Protocol has “bailed out” the climate change treaty, by reducing the emissions of Greenhouse gases 5 to 6 times more than the targets under the Kyoto Protocol. In any case, many think that it was an unintended side benefit of the ODS phase-out. What I want to reveal, however, is the real and convenient opportunities that we have ahead of us to address the inconvenient truth of anthropogenic Climate Change – undoubtedly the greatest threat that mankind has ever faced.
The accelerated phase-out of HCFCs is an historic opportunity , not only to finally close the ozone hole, but also to open up the roads and vistas to further significant reductions of GHG emissions. The prospect of reduction in emission of 18 to 25 Gt of CO2 equivalents over the coming decades is a very impressive feeling, but it will depend, as Durwood Zaelke Dr. Steve Andersen inform us , on the replacement technologies of low or zero GWP alternatives to HCFCs that we will be able to develop and deploy.
More than that, I would like to emphasize that the energy efficiency of equipment using HCFC alternatives would lead the way for amassing further significant climate benefits. Humanity has already benefited by about 60% improvement in energy efficiency in domestic refrigerators since the industry started looking at their design in order to change from CFC-12. We now stand to benefit similarly from improving the energy efficiency in window or room air-conditioning. If we can just achieve 15% improvement in energy efficiency of room air-conditioning over the next 20 years in China alone, , it would mean shutting up of 100s of coal power plants with a corresponding reduction in CO2 emissions . And improving energy efficiency is not a rocket or missile science. We have already done it for domestic refrigerators.
Let me end with what Robert Frost, an American poet said:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I
I took the one less traveled by
and that has made all the difference
Many of you in this audience have selected that different path. Now is the time for
us to network together in order to catalyze the actions so that others will learn from
our steps on the road less traveled…and we have to walk miles ahead on this less travelled path till we reach there .
Global Trends in Energy Efficiency and Environmental Issues in Home Appliances
By Rajendra Shende, UNEP DTIE, Paris
Guangzhou, China 27-28 November 2008
It is pleasure to be here today with global gathering of friends, colleagues and experts from industries and governments for this workshop on Home Appliances. I would like to sincerely thank China Household Electrical Appliances Association (CHEAA) who has taken initiative in organizing this event. GTZ-Germany who is in fore front for promoting the environment friendly appliances is enthusiastic partner for this event and UNEP is indeed very happy to be working with both Chinese and German friends for making this timely event happen today.
This event could not have occurred at more opportune time. The production and ownership of home appliances have grown at double digit rate over last decade in most of the merging economies .The world has witnessing a dramatic change in all the spheres of life- political, social economical and environmental in last few years.
In the context of the current climate change debate and credit crunch the issue of energy efficiency and the material efficiency has resurfaced. Corresponding economic gains due to possible enhancing of the efficiencies may have added a compelling motivation to ensure these issues are properly addressed and that the advantages are realized at this opportune time.
Electrical appliances are the fastest growing energy users, after automobiles in all the countries. Despite the existence of major energy efficiency programs in the developed countries, residential electrical appliances still account for 30% of electricity consumption and 12% of greenhouse gas emissions. Based on existing appliances policy, demand is projected to grow 13% by 2010 and 25% by 2025.
Additional efficiency gains of up to 30% are possible by targeting the least life-cycle cost for appliances from 2005 onwards as the minimum efficiency performance standard.
By adopting such standards, developed countries could save some 322 million tones (Mt) of CO2/year by 2010 and 642 TWh of electricity by 2010. In terms of greenhouse gas emissions, this would be the equivalent of removing over 100 million cars from developed countries roads.
More importantly, these savings can be achieved at a negative cost to society. The extra costs of more efficient appliances are offset by savings in running costs over the life of the appliance. In the US, each tonne of CO2 avoided in this way in 2020 will save consumers $65; while in Europe, each tonne of CO2 avoided will save consumers _ 169 (reflecting higher electricity costs and currently lower efficiency standards in Europe).
For example, the energy efficiency of room air conditioners is a significant issue for China. During the transition away from HCFCs to protect the ozone layer, industries have a major opportunity to further improve the energy efficiency gains and economic gains at consumer level as well as at national level and at the same time derive climate benefits.
Potential reductions in power requirements for air conditioner units derived from technology transfer from developed countries would therefore have significant effects. For example, based on one study, these could result in reductions in total power generation of between 15 per cent and 38 per cent in the next 15 years in China , that is of up to 260 TWh – equivalent to the output from about 50 power plants – with corresponding reductions in CO2 emissions. To achieve the full potential of these energy saving measures, considerable market transformation is needed in China to facilitate the conversion to energy efficient air conditioners.
The rapid growth of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the home is the neglected appliances for targeting energy conservation. These devices, many of which consume power when switched off (in stand-by mode), are responsible for a large share of the projected residential energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions. Technical options exist to improve the energy performance of home ICT if innovative efficiency policy standards are set. International collaboration and co-operation is becoming increasingly important in appliance policy and technology development. This is a remarkable opportunity for governments and private sector for technology innovation and technology cooperation between developed and developing countries
Greater transparency and comparability in appliance energy performance standards,
test procedures and labeling would bring benefits for producers, consumers and
UNEP is committed to assist in ensuring developing countries expedite their compliance with the HCFC phase-out through cost-effective, ozone and climate friendly refrigerants and at the same time improving technologies to ensure emission reduction and energy efficiency. UNEP would facilitate the technology cooperation between the countries.
Chinese saying goes: “A crisis is an opportunity riding the dangerous wind”
The world is in the middle of crisis , however the workshops like these would overcome the dangerous winds and would establishment an effective cooperation between the industries on technologies and policies so that they can seize the opportunity to get economic and environmental gains. UNEP sees this workshop as an important contribution to this process.
Sealing the Hole and Sealing the Deal: Convenient opportunity
By Rajendra Shende, Head OzonAction, United nations Environment Programme, Paris
17th September 2009
By middle of December 2009, just about couple of months from now, when the Copenhagen climate summit would be over, the world would wake up to either of two dawning realisations i.e. the meaningful and adequate ‘deal is sealed’ to set humanity on the right track to address climate change or we have set the world on life threatening runaway wild fire. We are today uncertain on outcome.
Just about fortnight from thence, on 1st January 2010, the world would wake up to a definite and certain reality i.e. a world without chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other ozone depleting substances. On that day the production and consumption chemicals that harm the life supporting ozone layer would be assigned to the history books. Already more than 98 percent of these man-made chemicals have been eliminated by man-made international accord called The Montreal Protocol. No financial crisis, no food crises, no flue crises can stop this dawning reality. Such is the determination of the humanity to ‘seal the ozone hole’.
The story of uncertainty of complex international climate negotiations and the global certainty of ozone layer protection sends out powerful messages. China like other developing countries has been part of these stories and lessons.
The story of the Montreal Protocol teaches us lessons on common but differentiated responsibilities between developed and developing countries. And more importantly it conveys the advantages of prudent foresight of taking preventive approaches at the right time. These and other messages, would no doubt be useful for the governments around the world who are already “on the road to Copenhagen” to make new a deal on climate change.
What is less known is the fact that the Montreal Protocol has ‘bailed out’ the climate change crises. As CFCs are also powerful Green House Gases ( GHGs) having potential to warm the earth few thousand times more than Carbon Dioxide, by phasing them out, the Montreal Protocol has achieved the reduction of GHG emissions at least 5 times more than the emissions targeted under the Kyoto Protocol. Further more the energy efficiency improvements that have come along with CFC phase out have infected provided triple benefits: ozone protection, climate mitigation and economic savings.
The Montreal Protocol is continuing its long march. The Parties to the Protocol-now the whole world with its 196 countries-have agreed to accelerate the last ozone depleting chemicals i.e. HCFCs. This group of chemicals are mainly used in the Air conditioning and refrigeration. HCFCs harm the ozone layer, but more importantly they cause serious damage to climate due to its global warming potential of 2000 times more than carbon dioxide. And as it happened with CFCs, the alternative to HCFCs also stands to improve the energy efficiencies. Commercial and residential air conditioning boom in China would benefit from this quiet revolution by energy conservation. Just few percentages of improvements in energy efficiency in air conditioning in China would have potential to make the power generation from Three Gorges dam redundant.
A convenient opportunity to address the inconvenient truth.
As we walk on the road to Copenhagen, the road signs of technological green opportunities in the midst of the crisis are evident. As we all get geared up to face the defining challenge of our times i.e. the UNFCCC’s meeting in Copenhagen, the UN has launched a campaign for a synchronized and focused global action under a slogan to urge the governments, industry and civil society to strike a deal. The campaign is called ‘Seal the Deal’. It aims to galvanize political will and public support towards signing a UN agreement on climate. But this campaign is not just a slogan. It is tested I real life with similar global action to ‘seal the hole’.
Next Generation MAC-technologies Workshop
Shanghai, China 24-25 November 2008
Rajendra Shende, UNEP DTIE
At the outset, I would like to thank the China Automobile Air-Conditioner Special Association (CAASA), China’s Automobile Industry association for organising this important event and also Ministry of Environmental Protection of China for encouraging these international consultations. UNEP is proud to be associated with this event which could prove to be beginning of the change over to the ‘next generation MAC technology’.
The world is changing in more sense than one. While the developed economies are facing major economic problems, the developing economies are searching for the opportunities to prevent the problems reaching at their door steps. It is therefore important that technology consultations like these continue so that we all benefit from the optimal solution.
Mobile air conditioning is now reaching to the masses in the similar way as mobile telephones. Even some years ago the worldwide automotive fleet numbered some 720 million vehicles, half of which were equipped with mobile air conditioning (MAC); this percentage is growing. MAC use is expanding rapidly in the car industry: in Europe, since the 1990s almost all new cars produced were equipped with MACs. In developing countries, the number of cars placed on the market is rapidly increasing, particularly in China and India, and the adoption curve is also very steep as incomes increase and consumers seek additional driving comfort from air conditioning. In China the production of cars is reaching to 9 million per year of which most of the cars are air conditioned and car ownership is expected to double by 2012.
CFCs have been successfully phased out in developed and later in the developing countries’ automobile market as a consequence of the Montreal Protocol. Currently, the most commonly used refrigerant in MAC systems is HFC-134a, a hydrofluorocarbon which has zero ODP but a high GWP (1300).
Use of HFC 134a as substitute for CFC 12 was like, what Chinese proverb said, tearing down the east wall to repair the west wall. Industrialised country car manufacturers, suppliers, governments, and international organizations are moving quickly to reduce direct emissions of HFC-134a from vehicle air conditioning and to reduce the indirect emissions from the operation of MACs due to less consumption of fuel due to improved design.
The present global emissions from MAC are estimated to be nearly 1 giga tons of CO2 equivalent per year and another 0.2 giga tons of CO2 equivalent per year due to fuel consumed for the operation of MAC.
Policy driven technology development is taking place in Europe and other part of the world to move away from HFC 134a due to its very high GWP. The EC’s MAC directive can be seen as major part of the global response to the MAC challenge. As a first step, it controls leakage of current refrigerants, and as a second step, it phases out the use of R134a due to its potent GHG, Being objective-based rather than technology-prescriptive, it sets a threshold level which allows the potential use of low or zero GWP refrigerants. The European Union has banned the use of HFC-134a from 2011 i.e. just about two years from now, in new MAC units in new ‘type’ automobiles and from 2017 in all new automobiles.
Developing countries like China and India are uniquely placed to take advantage of the recent technological advances and partnerships and to adopt more climate-friendly, energy-efficient and non-ozone depleting solutions for their specific situations. There is therefore a unique opportunity to utilise low or zero GWP refrigerant and at the same time to improve the fuel efficiency of the cars and vehicles. It is also important for China to look to the potential export markets and the current trends and legislation and to asses how these may influence decision making on alternatives.
There is third environmental advantage that is generally overlooked. Enhanced fuel efficiency due to improved MAC, would contribute to reducing the air pollution. 80% of the urban pollution in China is due to automobiles. Hence the possible improvement in fuel efficiency due to use of low or zero refrigerants in MAC would have significant effect in reducing air pollution. As per WHO, 2 million deaths occur per year due to air pollution. MAC sector in China can contribute to reducing the health hazards by adopting to third generation MAC technology.
What more, any improvement in fuel efficiency would also save the cost for the car user, decrease the import bill of the fuel for the Government. Though for a single car owner this may be small, at national level it is significant. The rough estimate indicate that due to possible fuel efficiency measures in MAC system, China could save up to US$ 12 Billion due to reduced fuel consumption petrol by 2025. In the context of the current credit crunch the issue of energy efficiency and corresponding economic gains may have added a compelling motivation to ensure these issues are properly addressed and that the advantages are realised.
UNEP has for some years been committed to working with developed and developing counties to reduce car emissions in the MAC sector and providing next generation MAC support. UNEP is working with a joint project with the European Commission to provide support in this area. Indeed some of you may know that UNEP in collaboration with the US EPA and The Energy and resources Institute, India (TERI) organised a similar International Workshop in India on “Technology Cooperation for Next-Generation Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC)”, in New Delhi, in 2005.
We have seen many changes since this meeting was held in 2005, most significantly perhaps is the significant rise in global awareness and concern regarding climate change. The realisation that future implementation of the Montreal Protocol could bring more climate benefits is driving the technology development.
The world has a unique opportunity to get economical gains by protecting the environment. The immediate need is to collaborate with the developing countries and enter into partnerships to ensure that such gains are global in nature. Developing countries can avoid using obsolete MAC with HFC-134a. By forming partnerships with researchers and automobile manufacturers they can customize these energy-efficient and less ozone depleting solutions for their specific situations. Developing countries also stand to benefit from mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, reduction of air pollution and of ozone depletion, as well as increased trade opportunities for less polluting vehicles. Recognizing this inter-relationship, OzonAction Branch of UNEP DTIE is helping developing countries make informed decisions that protect the ozone layer and at the same time safeguard the climate system through improved fuel efficiency.
We hope that this workshop achieves its aim bringing key Chinese MAC stakeholders a balanced and comprehensive overview of technology and policy options in this important industrial sector, so that informed technology and investment decisions can be made.
The role of UNEP is to help provide automotive air conditioning system suppliers, government regulators, research and development personnel, and standards development organisations with a clear understanding of globally accepted best practices, procedures, regulations, testing/ monitoring and technology cooperation.
The MAC sector is an excellent example of how new policies could foster desirable technology change and benefit society through economic (reducing fuel consumption), environmental (reducing carbon dioxide emissions) and social (reducing air pollution and improving health) analysis. It can prove that environment and economics are not in opposite teams but on the score side of the game.
I wish you all the best for your deliberations over this next two days.
The publication was about unique efforts done by African countries in implementing the Montreal Protocol. Audience included number of Ministers and government officers from Africa .
The story line of the African countries, of their efforts to protect the ozone layer, is as unique as its diversity and as inspiring as its people. This story line has no end and it keeps on building from one event to another.
Like the origin of humanity, Africa was at the origin of the Montreal Protocol- in Nairobi, Kenya. There, UNEP gave the science of ozone depletion the certainty needed to inspire global action. Of the eight original developing country signatories of the Montreal Protocol five were from the African continent. Today all the 53 countries in Africa are partners to the Montreal Protocol.
The entire African continent contributed only very small percent of the global consumption of CFCs and zero percent of production of CFCs. Nevertheless, Africa which harbors one of the poor countries of the world recognized the need for the global cooperation and took the torch in their hand to run the environmental marathon. Clearly, poor economic conditions do not shadow the rich vision.
By phasing down the consumption of ODS as per the Montreal Protocol’s time table, these countries have significantly contributed to reducing Climate Change. What’s more, Africa now stands to green its economy by future implementation of the Montreal Protocol by:
– Enhancing their energy Security as well as energy independence by improving the energy efficiency of refrigeration and air-conditioning used in buildings and food preservation;
– Generating employment through now green business of recovery and recycling, destruction of unwanted ODS
– Pursuing the green business of energy efficient appliances
The story line of the Montreal Protocol in Africa gets more inspiring if it is read in between the lines.
– Rajendra Shende, Head OzonAction.
On 17th September I had pleasure in addressing Foreign Correspondents Club of China in Beijing . Venue was Cultural Center of Indian Embassy . What I enjoyed most was the question answer session with the most brilliant journalists stationed in Beijing and of course samosa and potato bonda with chatuny . Most enjoyable experience indeed. Extract:
Day was 18th August 2009. The place : rock city of Abuja. Just about 140 days were left for the D-day of the Montreal Protocol. on 1st January 2010, the chloroflurocarbons , CFCs-, and halons would be asigned to the history books. (more…)