The preparatory segment of the twenty-fourth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP-24) opened in Geneva, Switzerland, on Monday, 12 November 2012.
In the morning, delegates agreed on the agenda and the organization of work and initiated discussions on issues related to exemptions, including essential-use exemptions for 2013 and critical-use exemptions for 2014.
During the afternoon, delegates took up agenda items on: investigation of data discrepancies related to carbon tetrachloride (CTC); proposal on the review by the Scientific Assessment Panel (SAP) of RC-316C; quarantine and pre-shipment (QPS); and feedstock uses.
OPENING OF THE PREPARATORY SEGMENT
MOP24 was opened on Monday by Ghazi Odat (Jordan), co-chairing the meeting with Gudi Alkemade (the Netherlands).
Bruno Oberle, Secretary of State for the Environment, Switzerland, highlighted the Protocol’s scientific foundation, governments’ willingness to act quickly and the MLF as factors contributing to the Protocol’s success. He said Switzerland supports the HFC amendment proposal and suggested examining the modalities and institutional, financial and technical consequences of such an amendment.
Marco González, Executive Secretary, Ozone Secretariat, highlighted the Protocol’s success while noting outstanding challenges, including decisions on, inter alia: essential and critical-use exemptions; and quarantines and feedstock uses. He welcomed discussions on: alternatives to HFCs; trade of controlled substances; observed data discrepancies on CTC; and revisions to the TEAP terms of references. González called on delegates to discuss the HFC amendment proposals in the spirit of the Protocol’s original negotiations, which based decisions on science, recognized industry’s ability to innovate and accepted the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CDR).
Awards were presented to Stephen Andersen (US) and Lambert Kuijpers (the Netherlands) for their work as the longest serving co-chairs of the TEAPs.
Co-Chair Alkemade introduced the provisional agenda (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24/1). The US suggested additions to the agenda, including: TEAP membership; improved information on policy and control measures of ODS transition; and transition of the MLF chief officer. INDIA, supported by CHINA, BAHRAIN and KUWAIT, objected to raising issues not under the Montreal Protocol, including items on: feedstock uses; clean production of HCFC-22 through by-product emission control; additional funding for the MLF to maximize the climate benefit of accelerated phase-out of HCFCs; and the new HFC amendments. The EU noted that feedstock use is controlled by the Montreal Protocol and this item, as well as proposals for amendments, should be retained on the agenda. BRAZIL proposed discussing issues related to policy matters only in plenary.
HAITI, INDONESIA, BOLIVIA, ECUADOR, BAHRAIN and NICARAGUA raised the situation of countries not yet ratifying the Beijing Amendment. INDONESIA proposed discussion on the status of the Bali Declaration introduced at MOP-23.
Co-Chair Alkemade proposed issues related to TEAP membership, raised by the US and China, be added as a sub-item to the existing agenda item on TEAP procedures. Regarding the proposed amendments to the Montreal Protocol, Alkemade acknowledged that while this topic was discussed in previous meetings, no agreement was reached and thus it remains on the agenda. CHINA asked for clarification regarding the legal status of the Bali Declaration.
Alkemade proposed, and parties agreed, to include several items under other matters, including: policies and controls influencing transition of ODS; transition of the chief MLF officer; ratification status of the Beijing Amendment; and the Bali Declaration status. She said that plenary will initially address the agenda items on investigation of CTC and the proposal on the review by the SAP of RC-316C.
Consideration of membership of Montreal Protocol bodies for 2013: The Secretariat introduced the item noting that the Preparatory Segment is expected to recommend the membership of the bodies to the High-Level Segment.
Financial reports of the trust funds and budgets for the Montreal Protocol: The Secretariat introduced this item (UNEP/OzL.Pro.24//7 and 7/ Add.1). A budget group was established to further discuss the documents and prepare a draft decision for consideration by Parties.
ISSUES RELATED TO EXEMPTIONS FROM ARTICLE 2 OF THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL
Nominations for critical-use exemptions for 2014: The TEAP said that the CFC essential use nomination was for CFCs used in the manufacture of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) MDIs, noting that the Medical Technical Options Committee (MTOC) sought to ascertain whether there was increased efficacy from using CFC MDIs for TCM in the treatment of asthma. She noted that there are suitable alternatives and that improved efficacy for the treatment of asthma was not proven and thus not considered an essential use. She suggested China use CFCs from its current allocation.
CHINA expressed concern that because TCM differs from conventional medicine, the MTOC did not address this issue sufficiently; stressing that refusing the nomination would have negative implications for Chinese companies and communities and requested reconsideration. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said it can provide more information on its nomination bilaterally, noting that it hoped work could be taken up within the allowed tonnage. MEXICO queried the extent of CFC stocks internationally, and asked TEAP to investigate the obstacles for countries not using allocated essential uses stocks.
TEAP noted that the implications for not having nominations accepted are matters for parties to address. She also said the use of stocks for CFC phase-out is critically important, and that the next TEAP report will report on obstacles to their use.
BANGLADESH said it has complied with its commitment to phase out all CFC-based MDIs by 2012, noting that remaining domestic stocks were consumed during the phase-out. CANADA stated its interest in having further discussions with China and Mexico. An informal group was established for further discussion.
Nominations for critical-use exemptions for 2014: The Methyl Bromide Technical Options Committee (MBTOC) co-chairs presented their final recommendations on methyl bromide critical-use nominations (CUN). Co-Chair Ian Porter noted decreasing CUN trends and described nominations by Australia, Canada and the US for strawberry production. Co-Chair Michelle Marcotte presented CUN on structures and commodities for Australian rice, Canadian flourmills, US dried fruits and nuts and US smoke-house hams. Co-Chair Marta Pizano described revisions to the CUN handbook, inter alia: removal of the code of conduct and clarification of economic indicators.
The EU said soilless cultures are available worldwide for strawberry runners and asked if bigger reductions were possible for Australia and Canada. MEXICO recommended using existing methyl bromide stocks and fully eliminating methyl bromide use in the future. CUBA asked MBTOC if it had considered existing stocks when evaluating the nominations. Co-Chair Porter responded that parties handle stocks and MBTOC does not account for stocks in its recommendations.
AUSTRALIA requested flexibility to use its 2014 critical-use exemption for fumigation of packaged rice in 2013, noting this shift would allow Australia to complete its transition one year earlier and result in no additional methyl bromide use. CANADA said it will not request an exemption for flour mills in 2015. AUSTRALIA, the US and CANADA requested the MBTOC to approve its full nomination for strawberry production and stated their intention to prepare a conference room paper (CRP) on methyl bromide. The EU said parties should respect the MBTOC recommendations. Co-Chair Odat requested parties to meet bi-laterally with the MBTOC and to submit a CRP.
Quarantine and pre-shipment issues: The EU presented a proposal on QPS. He stated that at COP9/ MOP23, a contact group was established, but a final decision has yet to be reached. JAPAN noted QPS for exporting and importing countries to minimize pests and diseases in trade, but supports discussions.
Feedstock uses: The EU presented a proposal on ODS in feedstock uses, noting anticipated increases and a need for monitoring. He noted a revised CRP, initially discussed at OEWG 32, will soon be available. INDIA, supported by CHINA, questioned if this issue is relevant, referencing TEAP findings from 2011 and 2012 and did not support requesting TEAP to conduct further studies. CHINA and the US supported discussion with the US noting intersessional work. Co-Chair Odat proposed establishing a small group.
INVESTIGATION OF CARBON TETRACHLORIDE DISCREPANCY
TEAP presented the latest information on the issue, noting the possible reasons for discrepancies in the top-down and bottom-up estimates of CTC, and that its amount in the atmosphere is decreasing. CANADA welcomed the information, and, supported by AUSTRALIA, suggested that CTOC participate in a group to discuss the issue, in view of its relevance to feedstocks. INDIA stressed that CTC had been phased out, the discrepancy is minimal, and expressed doubt about the need to mix the issue with feedstocks. The Co-Chair asked Canada, Sweden, Australia, India and TEAP to meet to discuss the item.
PROPOSAL ON THE REVIEW BY THE SCIENTIFIC ASSESSMENT PANEL OF RC-316C
The RUSSIAN FEDERATION informed delegates of an independent study carried out to evaluate RC-316c, which was found to have a high ODP and GWP, which makes it an unfeasible alternative for aerospace uses. He emphasized that there is no intention to produce or use this substance, and new alternatives are being sought, including imported ones.
The SAP confirmed that RC-316C has high ODP and GWP. The US suggested that the proponents of the relevant draft decision request SAP to assess RC-316C consult and then report back. INDIA said this substance is not controlled by the Protocol, and that requests are not made to SAP to assess the GWP. The Co-Chair proposed that the decision sponsors - US, Australia, Canada, Norway and Switzerland – meet informally with India and the SAP and report back.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON ALTERNATIVES TO OZONE-DEPLETING SUBSTANCES
Co-Chair Alkemade introduced this agenda item. She asked the OEWG32 contact group co-Chairs to provide an update on progress. AUSTRALIA said there had not been significant intercessional consultations and recommended forming a contact group. Co-Chair Alkemade agreed to form a contact group.
PROCEDURAL ISSUES RELATED TO THE TEAP AND ITS SUBSIDIARY BODIES
Co-Chair Alkemade introduced this agenda item, noting that TEAP had prepared a matrix with existing and needed expertise among its members as well as proposed revisions to its TOCs. TEAP said it had revised the matrix and prepared a discussion paper. TEAP also stated its intent to continue to work on re-organization plans over the next year. On behalf of the OEWG32 contact group co-chairs, COLOMBIA said some progress had been made but recommended forming a contact group. Co-Chair Alkemade said a contact group on the procedural issues would be formed. The US offered to work with interested delegations to draft a decision on TEAP nominations, which CHINA welcomed. Co-Chair Alkemade asked interested parties to collaborate with the US and China.
PROPOSAL ON TRADE OF CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES WITH SHIPS SAILING UNDER A FOREIGN FLAG
Co-Chair Odat introduced the agenda item. The EU described a CRP that it had prepared, noting that it focuses on fact-finding and monitoring. The US said the CRP did not reflect all OEWG 32 discussions but welcomed discussions on the CRP. Co-Chair Odat formed a contact group on the issue.
EVALUATION OF THE FINANCIAL MECHANISM OF THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL
Co-Chair Odat introduced the issue. Mark Wagner, ICF International, described the evaluation findings, noting that the final report incorporates comments from OEWG 32 and written submissions. CANADA, AUSTRALIA, BRAZIL, the EU, CHINA and INDIA welcomed the report, with several delegates noting that it recognizes the MLF as an effective, efficient funding mechanism for implementing the Protocol. CANADA suggested preparing a decision on the report. AUSTRALIA recommended implementing a more regular schedule of evaluations. COLOMBIA said funding is not sufficient, compared to the past. Co-Chair Odat asked Canada to prepare a draft decision in collaboration with interested parties.
IN THE CORRIDORS
MOP24 discussions began with a quick start, judging by the impressive attendance at Sunday’s 25th anniversary seminar, hosted by the Swiss government. Participants praised the seminar for easing delegates into the technicalities of the negotiations at hand. Several delegates noted that the seminar’s agenda and its speakers list indicated MOP24’s emerging focus, on links between ozone and climate issues. One observer welcomed the presence of Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action as a sign of increasing realization that the Montreal Protocol can make substantial contributions to obtaining climate benefits.
Seminar participants feted the TEAP Co-Chair Stephen Andersen who received an award from the Russian government for his devotion to making the Protocol a success and for forging a pioneering US-Soviet space technology partnership in ozone mapping. Delegates also welcomed the commitment of Switzerland to making the Geneva meeting a success, recognizing its role in implementing the Protocol.
However, the good feelings were dampened at the Monday morning session, when several delegations threatened to strike several items from the MOP24 official agenda (especially the controversial issue of HFCs) that, in their opinion, are outside the purview of the Protocol, while others strongly supported their consideration. The charged exchange on the agenda was, in the view of a participant, a portent of things to come later in the week.