Montreal Protocol Parties Agree to Enhanced Anti-Dumping Actions

by CCAC Secretariat - 24 November, 2023
In a landmark decision, parties to the Montreal Protocol have recognised the importance of regulating the export of non-compliant high-GWP equipment.

The ongoing phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol has been highly successful, with over 100 countries ratifying the agreement. If implemented fully, the Kigali Amendment is projected to reduce future global average warming by 0.5°C by 2100.  

Regulations forcing replacement of extremely potent greenhouse gases such as HFC-23 and others have begun to achieve the mainstreaming of low-global warming potential (GWP) alternatives such as carbon dioxide, in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, as well as other industrial products. To date, developed nations have been the most advanced in implementing these regulations, which are also often accompanied by upgraded energy efficiency standards. These regulations largely applied to the domestic sale of HFC-containing equipment however and did not ban exports of this equipment to other countries.  

As not all signatories to the Protocol have however been able to develop and implement such regulations however, this has left a gap in the market for manufacturers and second-hand equipment exporters to transfer old polluting equipment to middle and low-income countries. The practice, known as ‘dumping’ occurs in many industries and results in old technology accumulating in developing countries, where they cannot be maintained or disposed of adequately, which results in further leakages of HFCs into the atmosphere.  

Even in developing nations that do ban the import and sale of HFC-containing equipment, institutional capacity and border-control challenges often mean that HFC-containing equipment is still traded freely once imported. “Many developing countries have logistical and institutional challenges in managing cross-border trade” said Hubert Zan Assistant Manager of Energy Efficiency Inspection & Enforcement at the Ghanaian Energy Commission. 

In October 2023, at the Thirty-Fifth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, signatories to the Protocol came to a landmark decision recognizing dumping as a problem that requires a solution involving both exporting and importing parties. The decision came as the result of an initiative led by the African Group of nations, presented by Ghana to request that certain parties to prohibit, in their domestic regulations, the export of cooling equipment that does not satisfy their national regulations or is inconsistent with their standards.  

Since 2005 nearly 3 million used fridges have been exported to Ghana alone from Europe and elsewhere. The vast majority of these were exported prior to 2013, when Ghana introduced a ban on the import of second-hand fridges to try and reduce energy consumption and harm to the environment. The implementation of Ghana’s regulations on refrigeration types and energy efficiency now means that around 99% of imports are compliant with Kigali Amendment standards. 

“The logic request was that HFCs leaked into the atmosphere have the same effect on global warming regardless of where they are leaked, and if we are all in the Protocol for the good of the atmosphere, then all nations should close loopholes like this which limit progress,” said Zan. 

Each party to the Protocol undertakes to adopt an implementation plan to create concrete steps towards their Protocol commitments. To do their part to meet these commitments countries who are still in the process of developing or implementing their plans also requested extra support from the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol to further their progress.  

The request was accepted as a second component of the October decision. This means the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund will consider allocating funding within Kigali hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) implementation plans and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) phase-out management plans to assist importing Parties to develop and enforce policies and measures to reduce will prevent future non-compliance caused by the importing of prohibited cooling equipment. 

“One of the most positive outcomes of this decision is that it shows Parties to the Protocol are interested in acting for the benefit of our shared atmosphere, rather than just for their domestic interests,” said Zan. 

Pollutants (SLCPs)