- China likely continues to fail their agreements pertaining to the environment.
- Russia has committed to reduce substances that hurt the environment.
- Much more needs to be done to save our planet's ozone layer.
On March 27, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin officially signed a decree adopting a Russian amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out the production of numerous substances that are responsible for ozone depletion. It was agreed on September 16, 1987.
It will significantly reduce the consumption of hydrofluorocarbons, which belong to the group of super-greenhouse gases, by 2036, which will help reduce the anthropogenic impact on the Earth’s climate and meet the obligations of the Russian Federation arising from the UN framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris agreement.
The move by Russia implies a gradual reduction in the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons, which have high global warming potential. Hydrofluorocarbons are compounds that contain fluorine and hydrogen atoms. One of their main applications is in air conditioning and as refrigerants in place of the older chlorofluorocarbons such as R-12 and hydrochlorofluorocarbons such as R-21.
The amendment was adopted with preferential conditions for Russia by calculating the base level of hydrofluorocarbon consumption and the schedule for their reduction. Russia needs to reduce consumption of HFCs:
- by 5% in 2020.
- by 35% in 2025.
- by 70% in 2029.
- by 80% in 2034.
- by 85% in 2036.
While this schedule is not nearly as fast as it should be, it is at least a step in the right direction for the sake of our planet.
The amendment also provides for the creation and implementation, in each of the parties to the Montreal Protocol, of a system for licensing the import and export of new, used, and recycled hydrofluorocarbons. Starting from January 1, 2033, the amendment introduces a ban on the import and export of hydrofluorocarbons for any States that are not parties to the Montreal Protocol. To date, 92 countries have joined the amendment.
Not surprisingly the biggest exported around the world of hydrofluorocarbons is China, whose companies are cheating the environment and trying to work around regulations. A 2018 report found that at least 18 Chinese companies in 10 provinces have found ways to fail legal compliance and continue to use CFC-11 (trichlorofluoromethane). It is highly likely China contributes to climate change and exasperates the environmental impact on flora and fauna as well.
More needs to be done to save our environment and to execute sanctions against China, given the threat China poses to our planet and also western national security.