Advancing nationally determined contributions (NDCs) through climate-friendly refrigeration and air conditioning: Guidance for policymakers

 
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This guidance assists policymakers in designing national mitigation strategies for the refrigeration, air conditioning and foam (RAC&F) sector to meet the increasing ambition levels expected in revised NDCs. By aligning efforts taken under the two relevant international regimes, the UNFCCC and the Montreal Protocol, the RAC&F sector can make a significant contribution towards reaching the 2°C target, or even the 1.5°C target.


Introduction:

With the objective to hold the increase in global average temperature well below 2°C and the ambition to limit it to 1.5°C, parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) agreed at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP) in Paris in December 2015 to undertake and communicate more ambitious efforts to contribute to the global response to climate change. Parties are now asked to review and update their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) and submit them as nationally determined contributions (NDCs) until the global agreement officially starts in 2020.1 At the same time, parties are advised to immediately assess economy-wide and sector-specific mitigation potential in order to comprehensively define ambition levels and engage in early mitigation action.

Population growth, urbanisation, an increasing middle class, changing lifestyles and rising ambient temperatures drive a growing demand for refrigeration, air conditioning and foam (RAC&F) products – a development that cannot be disregarded any longer. RAC&F applications are responsible for large amounts of CO2 and hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions – two greenhouse gases (GHG) reported under the UNFCCC. As the demand for cooling rises, the GHG emissions – resulting from both electricity consumption and the use of refrigerants and blowing agents with high global warming potential (GWP) – are also growing rapidly. Specifically HFCs have high GWPs of up to 4000 CO2eq, which are these times increasingly used as substitutes to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) – as ozone depleting substances (ODS) under the Montreal Protocol (MP).

At the 28th Meetings of the Parties (MOP) to the MP in October 2016 in Kigali, parties agreed to phase down HFC emissions over the next three decades, thereby building a fundamental pillar to achieving the ultimate goal set out in the Paris Agreement about a year earlier. According to an analysis by G. Velders et al (2016), the Kigali Amendment will avoid nearly 90 per cent of the temperature increase that HFCs could have caused.

The following guidance assists policymakers to design national mitigation strategies for their RAC&F sector to meet the increasing ambition levels expected in revised NDCs. By aligning efforts taken under the two relevant international regimes, the UNFCCC and the Montreal Protocol, the RAC&F sector can make a significant contribution towards reaching the 2°C target, or even better, the enhanced 1,5°C target.

1 The Paris Agreement officially entered into force on 4th of November 2016.

Contacts for further information: Frauke Röser, Marie-Jeanne Kurdziel