Montreal Protocol: China embraces BMU-funded technology

China is joining other countries in embracing climate-friendly technologies for the production of insulating panels and air-conditioning systems. China's choice of technology is based on two demonstration projects supported by the German Federal Environment Ministry (BMU). 

The parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer approved the climate-friendly strategy submitted by China as part of its efforts to meet obligations to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) at the end of July 2011 in Montreal. HCFCs both damage the ozone layer and have high greenhouse gas potential. They are used as propellants in the production of foam as well as refrigerants in air-conditioning systems.

The conversion strategy drawn up in a German-Chinese partnership provides for an extensive switch to climate-friendly technologies. These technologies were tested in demonstration projects conducted by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) that received funding of EUR 6.55 million under BMU's International Climate Initiative (ICI). At the same time, BMU provided financial support for drafting corresponding technology standards that have been incorporated into sectoral strategies.

China has made a groundbreaking decision by choosing climate-friendly technologies, and has made clear that supporting demonstration projects is an effective instrument to benefit global climate protection. The creation of a separate industry association is also a noteworthy development.

Eighty per cent of the roughly 500 affected foam manufacturers are to switch to CO2 technology as part of the approved conversion plan, 50 of them by 2015. The resulting climate impact is projected to stand at approximately 20 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually during this first phase, which is running until 2015. Furthermore, 18 production lines for air-conditioning systems are switching to the climate-friendly refrigerant propane. By using propane, one production line making 180,000 units each year prevents around 500,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent during the life of these appliances.