New Delhi– It would cost India 12 billion euros to shift from hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs), used as refrigerants, to the greener gases between 2015 and 2050, a research has said.

The research released by New Delhi-based Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) was on Monday also discussed in a meeting here on the alternatives of HFCs and other super greenhouse gases. Union Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave chaired the meeting.

This high cost, which is estimated to be 33-34 billion euros for North America, European Union, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and others, is supposed to be a road block ahead of the negotiations for the next Montreal Protocol meeting scheduled between October 8 and 14 at Kigali, Rwanda.

“The cumulative mitigation cost in the Indian proposal is almost 12 billion euros, which is much less compared to the other proposals (EU, NA, SIDS and Intermediate proposals),” the research said.

Noting that “more mitigation is more costly”, the research said this additional economic burden is, however, imperative for achieving higher environmental benefit.

The research adds that given the continued strong increase in demand, the release of HFCs is expected to increase manifold until 2050.

“The majority of refrigeration and air-conditioning systems produced and marketed in India today use HCFC-22, which is an Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) and scheduled for phase-out,” the report said, adding that the cumulative mitigation achieved in the Indian proposal is also lower.

Meanwhile, the Union Environment Ministry on Monday held a discussion with the stakeholders across industry groups on the challenges faced by India in phasing down HFCs.

Speaking of the Montreal Protocol, Minster Anil Madhav Dave said: “India would seek an equitable agreement in Kigali that is in the best interests of the nation, its people, as well as the larger global community.”

Speaking of the research pointing high cost for mitigation, the Environment Ministry said that India at Kigali meeting in October must remind the donor countries of their “commitment” and that “this assurance is necessary to fulfil any commitments India makes”.

“There are different estimates as to what it will cost to make the switch. The debate is not on what needs to be done, but on how to do it. A fine balance has to be achieved between national interests and environmental concerns,” R.R. Rashmi, Additional Secretary in the Union Environment Ministry, said at the meeting.

Experts suggested that India should assert (at Kigali) that funding from multilateral funds should be disbursed to developing countries as soon as possible, so that this technological transition can be achieved without any delay.

Montreal Protocol was designed to protect Ozone layer by reducing the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances. It was agreed on September 16, 1987, and entered into force on January 1, 1989.

IndUS Business Journal

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