In a landmark step, 197 nations, including India, had struck a legally-binding deal after intense negotiations in the Rawandan capital, Kigali, to phase down hydrofluorocarbons which are gases used in refrigeration, air conditioning and aerosols among other applications.
"The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given its ex-post facto approval to the negotiating position adopted by the government at the recent Meeting of Parties (MoP) to the Montreal Protocol of the Vienna Convention for Protection of Ozone Layer that took place during October 6-14 in Kigali in Rwanda," an official statement said.
The negotiations at Kigali were aimed at including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in the list of chemicals under the Montreal Protocol with a view to regulate their production and consumption and phase them down over a period of time with financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund.
HFCs are not ozone depleting but global warming substances and if controlled, can contribute substantially to limiting the global temperature and advance actions for addressing climate change.
The Kigali agreement reached on the amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the ozone layer is expected to prevent a global temperature rise of up to 0.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
"The Cabinet also approved the proposal of the Environment Ministry to argue for adoption of an appropriate baseline years from out of three options within a range of 2024 to 2030 with freeze in a subsequent year.
"The Cabinet approved the flexibility of using any of the options within this range with a combination of the features of the proposed options in consultation with the government," the statement said.
At Kigali, India successfully negotiated the baseline years and freeze years which will allow sufficient room for the growth of the concerned sectors using refrigerants being manufactured domestically, thus ensuring unhindered growth with least additional cost and maximum climate benefits.
Modi had earlier termed the agreement as "historic" and said the deal would provide a mechanism for countries like India to access and develop technologies that leave a low carbon footprint.
According to the amendment, developed nations will reduce HFC use first, followed by China. India and nine other nations of south and west Asia will follow suit. Overall, the deal is expected to reduce HFC use by 85 per cent by the year 2045.
"It was agreed at Kigali that there would be two set of baselines or peak years for developing countries and India will have baseline years of 2024, 2025, 2026...This decision gives additional HCFC allowance of 65 per cent that will be added to the Indian baseline consumption and production.
"The freeze year for India will be 2028 with a condition that there will be a technology review in 2024/2025 and if the growth in the sectors using refrigerants is above certain agreed threshold, India can defer its freeze up to 2030," the statement said.
On the other hand, developed countries will reduce production and consumption of HFCs by 70 per cent in 2029.
As per the decisions taken in Kigali, India will complete its phase down in 4 steps from 2032 onwards with cumulative reduction of 10 per cent in 2032, 20 per cent in 2037, 30 per cent in 2042 and 85 per cent in 2047.
"The Kigali amendments to the Montreal Protocol will also, for the first time, incentivise improvement in energy efficiency in case of use of new refrigerant and technology.
"Funding for research and development and servicing sector in developing countries has also been included in the agreed solutions on finance," it added.