Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) phase out in the Cook Islands
This year, we celebrate 35 years of the Vienna Convention and 35 years of global ozone layer protection. World Ozone Day, held annually on September 16, celebrates this achievement.
The 2020 slogan of the day, ‘Ozone for life’, reminds us that not only is ozone crucial for life on Earth, but that we must continue to protect the ozone layer for future generations.
Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing and expected to return to pre 1980 values by mid-century. In support of the Protocol, the Kigali Amendment, which came into force in 2019, will work towards reducing hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs), greenhouse gases with powerful climate warming potential and damaging to the environment.
An update on the Ozone Project
The Cook Islands is pleased to announce that we now join ten (10) other Pacific Island national and eighty one (81) countries in ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The agreement was formally announced on the 22nd August 2019 by the United National Secretary General Anto0nio Gutteres.
The news of the ratification is received in a timely manner, as the National Environment Service commemorated International Ozone Day which is commemorated annually on the 16th September.
The Kigali Agreement was formally reached at the Parties of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, in which the National Environment Service actively participated in during the 28th Meeting of the Parties in 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda to phase-down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC).
The phase-down of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol has been under negotiation by the Parties since 2009 and the successful agreement on the Kigali Amendment continues the historic legacy of the Montreal Protocol. The Kigali Amendment entered into force on the 1st January 2019 provided that it is ratified by at least 20 Parties of the Montreal Protocol.
HFCs are commonly used alternatives to Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). While not ozone ODS’s gases themselves, HFCs are greenhouse gases which can have high or very high global warming potentials (GWP) that affects Climate Change. The use of HFCs has facilitated the rapid phase-out of ODS including CFC, HCFC and has helped protect the Earth’s fragile Ozone Layer. However, the High GWP of HFCs is a major disadvantage and every effort now needs to be made to use non-ozone depleting alternatives with a low climate impact. In addition to this, the National Ozone Unit is working on updating the regulation to include the provision of a Technicians Licence for service technicians to have in order to service equipment containing ozone depleting substances legally. This measure includes the requirement for technicians to attend ‘Good Practices in Refrigeration’ training and refreshers. This training covers the proper handling of the ozone depleting substances and education on the effects of the substances so that technicians will become more mindful that they need to avoid as much as possible, any gas leakages or discharges into the atmosphere.
The other new provisions is to create a quota system for amounts of ozone depleting substances imported by each company. This quota is set to decrease over time to eventual phase out. Premises or companies that store and/or sell ozone depleting substances will also have to be permitted to do so and will need to fill particular criteria to obtain a permit to sell or store ozone depleting substances. The requirement for licences or permits to sell and store ozone depleting substances will also be added to the regulation.
All these additions need to become implemented into the Cook Islands law to fulfil our obligations to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol. As the Cook Islands are a Party to these treaties, so shall the Cook Island follow the protocols put in place to reduce and phase out ozone depleting substances.
In 2019 and 2020, the National Ozone Unit (NOU) held a technician training and a refrigerant recovery program in Aitutaki. The team consisted of two qualified RAC technicians and the recovery training program was conducted at the Aitutaki Waste Management site and the Pacific Resort Aitutaki.
7.55kg of gas was recovered from eight (8) aircon units that was stored at the waste facility site and less than 1kg from units at the Pacific Resort Aitutaki. During the teams stay, the NOU conductged presentations at the schools on Ozone Depleting Substances.
ODS Import Permit for the importation of bulk ODS – existing ODS Equipment Import Permit for the importation of appliances that contain ODS – may be introduced to monitor all amounts of gases coming in and track ODS based equipment
Technicians Licence for the handling and use of ODS Technicians training ‘Good Practices in Refrigeration’
Option 1: Montreal Protocol, reductions in HCFC’s
– 2015: 10% reduction
– 2020: 35% reduction
– 2025: 67.5% reduction
– Over next 10 years: 97.5% reduction
Option 2: The preferred option of the National Ozone Unit
– 2013: ban of HCFC equipment imports and 15%
reduction of HCFC for servicing existing equipment
The idea here is that if HCFC based equipment is banned there won’t be an increase of HCFC imports, it will just be the servicing of existing units that will come to the end of their life most likely by 2020. In addition to this, a survey of household refrigerators showed that already 94.1% of those households surveyed are already non HCFC based.
Ongoing customs training is in order to train Customs officers to identify and monitor ozone depleting substances and also methods of smuggling. There is some concern with the upcoming HCFC Phase out, that smuggling will start to occur.
NES – National Ozone Unit
Establish and operate permit, licence and quota systems (the licensing system)
Establish an ODS ‘fund’ for the safe disposal of ODS.
The import permit application can be downloaded on page 4