Minister Mikkonen to attend Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Rome – agenda to cover role of sustainable cold chains in fight against climate crisis and food loss

Press release 2019-11-06 at 12:59

Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Krista Mikkonen will represent Finland and the EU at the Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Rome on 7 November. The meeting will explore how limiting HFCs used in refrigeration equipment can contribute to the fight against food loss and climate change. 

“The Montreal Protocol is a success story in environmental protection. It is the only international environmental protection agreement that has been ratified by every country in the world. The results of the Protocol speak for themselves: the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer has decreased by more than 98 per cent and the ozone layer is recovering. The decision to reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons is an important next step. It is one of the most significant individual actions we can take to halt the rise in the global average temperature,” says Minister Mikkonen.

On 1 January 2019, an Addendum to the Montreal Protocol entered into force. The Kigali Amendment restricts the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are known to be powerful greenhouse gases. According to estimations, the actions specified in the Montreal Protocol will enable us to prevent carbon dioxide emissions corresponding to 70 gigatonnes by 2050. Hydrofluorocarbons are used especially in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. 

In Rome, the discussions will explore how reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons can advance sustainable cold chains, thereby reducing food loss and combating climate change.

The Montreal Protocol plays an important role in the development of sustainable cold chains. Restricting the use of HFCs will mean a significant decrease in direct greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, the use of technologies with low global warming potential will be promoted and the energy efficiency of refrigeration equipment will be increased.

“As much as a third of food produced for humans is wasted. In Finland, food waste is mostly generated in households, but in developing countries this happens much earlier, already in primary production or in inadequate cold transport. By developing sustainable and reliable cold chains, we can respond to two major challenges: famine and the climate crisis. With this in mind, I also call for circular economy thinking with regard to food. We must work together to find ways to use materials efficiently and sustainably,” says Minister Mikkonen. 

The Montreal Protocol

The hole in the ozone layer discovered in 1980 gave rise to major concerns about the depletion of the ozone layer and the threat this causes to the Earth. It soon became evident that the hole in the ozone layer had been caused by commonly used CFC gases – mainly freons used for cooling and refrigeration – and by halons used in fire protection systems. In 1987, with the Montreal Protocol, the countries of the world agreed to stop the production and use of these gases. Since then, the use of ozone-depleting substances has decreased by more than 98 per cent.  The Kigali Amendment of 2016 added the phasing down of HFCs that replace ozone-depleting substances to the Montreal Protocol. HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases whose use is growing rapidly especially in the developing world, as refrigeration and air conditioning appliances become more widespread. 

Inquiries:

Antti Heikkinen, Special Adviser to the Minister, +358 50 348 1406, antti.heikkinen@ym.fi

Eeva Nurmi, Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 250 209, eeva.nurmi@ym.fi