hydrocarbon industry

Kigali agreement: India's HFC target is equal to shutting down 1/6th of its thermal power stations

India will reduce 75% of its cumulative hydrofluorocarbon emissions between 2015 and 2050, under the new agreement finalised in Rwanda.

India’s participation in a global agreement on climate change will reduce India’s greenhouse gases equal to closing one-sixth of India’s thermal power stations over the next 35 years, according to an IndiaSpend calculation, based on carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions from thermal power stations in 2012.

As many as 197 countries reached a legally binding agreement in Rwanda on October 15 to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons – gases that can have global warming potential up to 12,000 times more than carbon dioxide. The agreement will come into force on January 1, 2019, and avoid emission of 70 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent globally – the same as stopping more than half of tropical deforestation.

India agreed to cut the production and use of HFCs starting 2028 – a more ambitious plan than India’s earlier proposal – according to a press release by Climate Action Network International, a network of non-governmental organisations working to limit climate change.

India will reduce 75% of its cumulative HFC emissions between 2015 and 2050, under the new agreement finalised in Rwanda, according to Vaibhav Chaturvedi, a researcher at Council on Energy, Environment and Water, a research institute headquartered in New Delhi.

Environmental impact

Developed countries will start reducing HFCs in 2019, followed by a group of developing countries including China, in 2024. India is in the group of countries which will reduce HFC consumption last, starting 2028.

The agreement is part of the Montreal Protocol, a global treaty for reducing the use of ozone-depleting substances, and now global warming gases.

“The agreement recognises the development imperatives of high-growth economies like India, and provides a realistic and viable roadmap for the implementation of a phase-out schedule for high global warming potential HFCs,” according to a press release by the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

HFCs are commonly used in air conditioners and refrigerators. HFCs would make up 5.4% of India’s global warming impact in 2050, as demand for air conditioners and refrigerators rises, according to a 2015 report by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water. The highest HFC emissions in 2050 are predicted to come from residential air-conditioning (35%) and commercial refrigeration (28%).

HFC emissions in the world are expected to grow by 10-15% by 2050, and could contribute to 200 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. Preventing the rise of these emissions could reduce the warming of the earth by 0.5 degrees Celsius, according to this 2015 brief by Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, an advocacy and research organisation headquartered in Washington DC.

Ambitious plan

The new agreement for HFC reduction for a group of countries – which includes India, Pakistan, Iran and Iraq – is more ambitious that the previous Indian proposal for developing countries but less intensive that the North American proposal.

India had earlier proposed a plan for developing countries to freeze HFC consumption by 2031, which means HFC use and production would be highest in that year, and decrease every year after 2031. A counterproposal by North America had suggested developing countries freeze HFC production and consumption in 2021.

An earlier freeze and baseline under the agreed amendment means that India will mitigate more CO2 equivalent that its original proposal.

Under the new agreement, India will freeze HFC consumption and use by 2028, while phasing down HFCs, by 2047, to 15% of the average consumption and use over 2024-2026.

It would approximately cost India $16.48 billion (Rs 1.1 lakh crore), Chaturvedi of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water said.

Another group of developing countries, including China, has agreed to freeze HFC consumption and use even earlier, by 2024. By 2045, these countries will reduce HFCs by 80% of the average consumption between 2020 and 2022.

Developed countries, such as the Unites States and western European countries, have agreed to freeze HFC consumption and use in 2019, and by 2036, phase down HFCs to 15% of the average use and consumption between 2011 and 2013.

“The flexibility and cooperation shown by India as well as other countries has created this fair, equitable and ambitious HFC agreement,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted on October 15.

India, and other developing countries, will be financially assisted by the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol, philanthropies, and other developed countries, as they switch from HFCs to other alternatives, with lower global warming potential, as IndiaSpend reported on October 14, 2016.

The Indian government also passed an order on October 13 for all producers to destroy HFC-23, a gas with a global warming potential 12,500 times that of CO2, according to the United Nations Environment Program. This will result in eliminating emissions of 100 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in India, over the next 15 years, according to Chandra Bhushan, the director of Centre for Science and Environment, a research and advocacy organisation, reported Livemint.

This article first appeared on IndiaSpend, a data-driven and public-interest journalism non-profit.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Tracing the formation of Al Qaeda and its path to 9/11

A new show looks at some of the crucial moments leading up to the attack.

“The end of the world war had bought America victory but not security” - this quote from Lawrence Wright’s Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Looming Tower’, gives a sense of the growing threat to America from Al Qaeda and the series of events that led to 9/11. Based on extensive interviews, including with Bin Laden’s best friend in college and the former White House counterterrorism chief, ‘The Looming Tower’ provides an intimate perspective of the 9/11 attack.

Lawrence Wright chronicles the formative years of Al Qaeda, giving an insight in to Bin Laden’s war against America. The book covers in detail, the radicalisation of Osama Bin Laden and his association with Ayman Al Zawahri, an Egyptian doctor who preached that only violence could change history. In an interview with Amazon, Wright shared, “I talked to 600-something people, but many of those people I talked to again and again for a period of five years, some of them dozens of times.” Wright’s book was selected by TIME as one of the all-time 100 best nonfiction books for its “thoroughly researched and incisively written” account of the road to 9/11 and is considered an essential read for understanding Islam’s war on the West as it developed in the Middle East.

‘The Looming Tower’ also dwells on the response of key US officials to the rising Al Qaeda threat, particularly exploring the turf wars between the FBI and the CIA. This has now been dramatized in a 10-part mini-series of the same name. Adapted by Dan Futterman (of Foxcatcher fame), the series mainly focuses on the hostilities between the FBI and the CIA. Some major characters are based on real people - such as John O’ Neill (FBI’s foul-mouthed counterterrorism chief played by Jeff Daniels) and Ali Soufan (O’ Neill’s Arabic-speaking mentee who successfully interrogated captured Islamic terrorists after 9/11, played by Tahar Rahim). Some are composite characters, such as Martin Schmidt (O’Neill’s CIA counterpart, played by Peter Sarsgaard).

The series, most crucially, captures just how close US intelligence agencies had come to foiling Al Qaeda’s plans, just to come up short due to internal turf wars. It follows the FBI and the CIA as they independently follow intelligence leads in the crises leading up to 9/11 – the US Embassy bombings in East Africa and the attack on US warship USS Cole in Yemen – but fail to update each other. The most glaring example is of how the CIA withheld critical information – Al Qaeda operatives being hunted by the FBI had entered the United States - under the misguided notion that the CIA was the only government agency authorised to deal with terrorism threats.

The depth of information in the book has translated into a realistic recreation of the pre-9/11 years on screen. The drama is even interspersed with actual footage from the 9/11 conspiracy, attack and the 2004 Commission Hearing, linking together the myriad developments leading up to 9/11 with chilling hindsight. Watch the trailer of this gripping show below.

Play

The Looming Tower is available for streaming on Amazon Prime Video, along with a host of Amazon originals and popular movies and TV shows. To enjoy unlimited ad free streaming anytime, anywhere, subscribe to Amazon Prime Video.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Amazon Prime Video and not by the Scroll editorial team.