Legislation passed to phase down HFCs

Legislation has been passed in the Australian parliament to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which comprise up to two per cent of Australia's greenhouse gas emissions.

HFCs are powerful synthetic gases used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers and insulating foam which can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The phase-down of HFC imports under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Bill 2017 will begin on 1 January 2018 and reach an 85 per cent reduction by 2036.

Australia co-chaired the negotiations in Kigali last year that led to a global agreement of all 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol to phase-down HFCs.

It is estimated that the global phase-down will reduce emissions by up to 72 billion tonnes by 2050 or roughly one and a third times global annual emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, this action could avoid up to 0.5 degrees of temperature rises by 2100.

This phase-down of HFCs follows the phase-out of other gases such as CFCs and HCFCs which have already helped to trigger a recovery of the ozone layer.

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