It becomes the 10th country to officially ratify the Amendment to the Montreal Protocol – half of what’s needed for it to go into effect.
Parliament House, Canberra, Australia
Demonstrating continued early action by its government to commit to an HFC phase-down, Australia has become the 10th country to officially ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
Australia’s ratification status was confirmed by the Depositary at the United Nations Office of Legal Affairs, New York.
This brings the global count halfway to the 20-country ratification minimum required for the Kigali Amendment to enter into force on 1 January, 2019. If that condition is not met by that date, the amendment will become effective on the 90th day following the date of ratification by the 20th party.
Last year, in October of 2016, Australia played a key role in co-chairing the negotiations for the Kigali Amendment.
Since that time, Australia’s government has been steadily moving forward with its own domestic HFC phase-down plan.
On 30 March, the government introduced a bill to amend the country’s existing Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management (OPSGGM) Act. The bill was passed on 19 June and requires Australia to begin phasing down HFC imports from 1 January 2018.
The bill also brought the country’s HFC phase-down schedule in line with the Kigali Amendment’s phase-down steps and will allow Australia to achieve the Kigali target of an 85% reduction by 2036.
No HFCs are manufactured in Australia itself.
The government has suggested that the long phase-down period is intended to give sufficient time for the industry to transition toward technology alternatives.
“The long phase-down period means that consumers can continue to use equipment with HFCs until the end of its useful life,” according to the official statement from the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, and Minister for the Environment and Energy, Josh Frydenberg.
“There are already new technologies on the market which use fewer HFCs or different technologies altogether.”
The government has acknowledged that the need for regulatory and investment certainty was clear from the industry.
Australia joins the other nine countries that have ratified the Kigali Amendment so far: Mali, the Federate State of Micronesia, the Marshall Islands, Rwanda, Palau, Norway, Chile, Tuvalu, and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea).
Larger entities such as the U.S., Japan, Canada, and numerous European countries have yet to ratify the amendment.
On 18 October, the Slovak Spectator reported that Slovak president Andrej Kiska had signed the ratification deed of the Kigali Amendment. However, that ratification has not yet been recorded in the UN Depositary online list.
More ratifications are expected to be announced at a meeting of the Montreal Protocol in Montreal, Canada, next month.