Henceforth, importers of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) should apply for licence from the National Ozone Unit under the National Environment Commission (NEC).

The new licensing system, which came into force this month,  is according to the requirement of the Kigali amendment on the Montreal Protocol which Bhutan ratified in 2019.

The amendment requires the parties to gradually phase down the production and consumption of HFC.

HFCs are a group of chemicals primarily used for cooling and refrigeration. They are used as refrigerants in appliances such as air conditioner, heat pumps, and refrigerators.

There are 18 HFCs that require licence system listed in the amendment.

An official from NEC, Kunzang Rinzin, said that the new licensing system would look into the quantity of HFCs to be imported, country of supply, port of entry, and end users among others. “This will determine the quantity of HFCs imported in Bhutan annually including the importers and the purpose of these equipment.”

These details will help Bhutan in gradually phasing down the consumption of HFCs as obligated under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, he added.

Currently, there are no records of the import of HCFs emitting equipment.

Kunzang Rinzin said the HFCs were used as an alternative to HCFCs. “The HFCs are non-ozone depleting substance but are potential greenhouse gases.”

The Kigali amendment ratified by 90 countries commits to reduce the production and consumption of HFCs which are used as alternatives to ozone depleting substances  by 80 percent by mid 2040s.

Bhutan has committed to reduce the consumption of HFCs beginning 2024.

Following the ratification of the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer and its amendments in 2004, the country stopped consumption of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in 2010. CFCs were used in refrigerants, propellants for aerosols, and foamed plastics.

The country is in the final stages of phasing out HCFCs with 67.5 percent reduced so far. It expects to remove 97.5 percent by 2025.

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.