News Excerpt
India has successfully achieved the complete phase-out of Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-141 b, which is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises and one of the most potent ozone-depleting chemicals after Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). (HCFC)-141 b is used mainly as a blowing agent in the production of rigid polyurethane (PU) foams.

•    The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has brought out a notification in the Gazette of India through which the issuance of import license for HCFC-141b is prohibited from 1st January 2020 under Ozone Depleting Substances (Regulation and Control) Amendment Rules, 2019 issued under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. It is a chemical used by foam manufacturing enterprises.
•    HCFC-141b is not produced in the country and all the domestic requirements are met through imports.
•    The Ministry adopted a structured approach to engage with foam manufacturing enterprises for providing technical and financial assistance in order to bring out a transition to non-ODS and low GWP technologies under HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP).

Impact of the Move:
    The phase-out of HCFC-141b from the country has twin environmental benefits viz.
o    Assisting the healing of the stratospheric ozone layer, and  
o    Towards the climate change mitigation due to transitioning of foam manufacturing enterprises at this scale under HPMP to low global warming potential alternative technologies.
    The polyurethane foam sector has links with important economic sectors related to buildings, cold storages and cold chain infrastructure, automobiles, commercial refrigeration, domestic appliances such as refrigerators, water geysers, thermo ware, office and domestic furniture applications, specific high-value niche applications etc.
    In India, the foam manufacturing sector is a mix of large, medium and small enterprises having varying capacities, with preponderance of MSMEs. Many of the MSMEs operate largely in the informal sector. These industries might get affected due to this phase out at least in the short term until they find some green alternative.
    To ensure minimal dislocation in the sector and for enhancing the capacities of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in converting to low-GWP non-ODS technologies, training and awareness programmes on non-ODS and low GWP alternatives to HCFCs including the adoption of such alternatives have been organized in close collaboration with Industry.
    MSMEs will also be facilitated for adequate tie-ups with system houses, laboratories for getting their material tested, etc, in addition to organizing study tours, field visits, etc.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phase-Out Management Plan (HPMP)
    19th Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol in 2007 called for the accelerated phase-out of HCFCs, with specific reduction targets, as well as directions for the Executive Committee and the Parties to expedite actions that will prioritise projects and programmes to meet this phase-out.
    HPMP is an over-arching plan that was adopted in 2008 in order to achieve total phase-out of HCFCs.Countries are classified as-
o    those with consumption in the servicing sector only
o    those with consumption in both servicing and manufacturing sector
    The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) through its Ozone Cell implements the HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) as per the reduction schedule agreed with the Protocol.
    It aims to phase out the use of HCFCs by switching to non-ozone depleting by 2030. The Government of India has now launched Stage II of HPMP for the 2017-2023 period which has a strong focus on HCFC phaseout in the building sector.

    Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, commonly known as HCFCs, are a group of man-made compounds containing hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine and carbon.
    They are not found anywhere in nature.
    HCFC production began to take off after countries agreed to phase out the use of CFCs in the 1980s, which were found to be destroying the ozone layer.
    Like CFCs, HCFCs are used for refrigeration, aerosol propellants, foam manufacture and air conditioning.
    Unlike the CFCs however, most HCFCs are broken down in the lowest part of the atmosphere, and pose a relatively lower risk to the ozone layer.
    Unfortunately, HCFCs are also very potent greenhouse gases, despite their very low atmospheric concentrations, measured in parts per trillion (million million).

India’s role in the Kigali Amendment
    In 2016, the signatories to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment, which aims to phase down HFCs and stresses the importance of combining refrigerant management with the energy-efficiency aspects of cooling.
    As a signatory to the Montreal Protocol and the Kigali Amendment, India has committed to freezing HFC use by 2028 and phasing down HFCs by 85 per cent by 2047.
    Globally, the agreement is expected to mitigate HFC use by 85 percent by 2045, causing a reduction of emissions equivalent to approximately 70 billion tonnes of CO2 globally.

Hydrocarbon Exploration Licensing Policy, International Solar Alliance, Survey of India, Montreal protocol, Kigali Agreement