Joining the global movement to mitigate climate change, the National Assembly adopted the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer yesterday.

Following ratification by 65 countries of the 197 parties of the Montreal protocol, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal protocol came into action since January 1 this year.

The house unanimously moved the motion to adopt the amendment, one day after the assembly’s deliberation on January 15.

Agriculture minister Yeshey Penjore presented the house the need to adopt the Kigali Amendment and the benefits of the ratification.

Lyonpo said the ratification of the convention would help the country strengthen the capacity of customs, technicians and industries through technical assistance, strengthen projects related to technical training institutes, and improve country’s technical skills.

“The Kigali Amendment was the fifth Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer adopted during the 28th Meeting of Parties held in Kigali, Rwanda in 2016,” the minister said.

The amendment requires phase down of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), bringing into control both production and consumption of HFCs. The HFCs are frequently used as substitutes for Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). Although they are non ODS, they are powerful greenhouse gases that have significant global warming potentials according to a report from the National Environment Commission.

“The HFC used in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps, propellants in aerosols, fire protection fluids, solvents and blowing agents to manufacture insulating foam are thousand times more harmful to the climate than carbon dioxide,” the report states.

The amendment is also expected to drive innovation and creat new economic opportunities in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector.

The HFC phase-down implementation is expected to begin from 2024 until 2045 and by the end of 2045 the country is expected to reduce HFC consumption and production by 85 percent.

The ratification would restrict the trade of products that contain HFCs as provisioned by the protocol, which would benefit the country. All plans and projects related to the implementation of the amendment would be supported by the concerned international agency.

While acknowledging the need to endorse the amendment as part of the global movement on climate change, Panbang Member of Parliament (MP) Dorji Wangdi said people need to understand the benefit of not consuming products made using HFCs and educate them on alternative refrigeration and air conditioning.

Khatoed Laya MP, Tenzin said the easy availability of refrigerators and air conditioners across the border at cheaper cost poses high risk on the implementation of the amendment. “Awareness on the need for people to stop buying the products containing HFCs from across the border is important,” he said.

With the country moving into phase down mode, unavailability of alternatives to HFCs and the need for more desirable alternatives, the need for Bhutan to be cautious of illegal trade for which customs of the bordering towns will have to strengthened and equipped are the country’s concerns in the implementation according to NEC.

The global implementation of the Kigali Amendment is expected to prevent up to 80 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent of emissions by 2050, making a significant contribution to the Paris Agreement objective of limiting the global temperature rise to well below 2°C.