Singapore to reduce reliance on hydrofluorocarbons under climate treaty

The move will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to plans to achieve net-zero emissions by or around 2050. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Singapore has ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and will reduce its reliance on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 80 per cent over the next two decades to meet its new obligations.

Doing so will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the country's plans to achieve net-zero emissions by or around 2050, said the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment (MSE) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) in a joint statement on Thursday (June 9).

Singapore has been a party to the Montreal Protocol since 1989. This international treaty was designed to phase out the use of certain substances that deplete the earth's ozone layer.

HFCs, which are commonly found as refrigerants in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, were used as substitutes for those substances, which were banned chemicals.

However, HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that contribute significantly to global warming. The Kigali Amendment was thus introduced in 2016 to phase out their use.

In Singapore, new rules to mitigate HFC emissions will come into effect in October under the Environmental Protection and Management Act. These aim to shift the market towards more climate-friendly technologies and equipment.

They will also require the proper handling of refrigerants during servicing works, and mandate the collection and proper treatment of spent refrigerants from decommissioned equipment.

In their statement, MSE and NEA outlined existing measures to help industries switch to more climate-friendly alternatives.

Since 2019, HFCs imported into Singapore have been subject to licensing controls.

And in 2020, a new grant was introduced to support companies that want to switch to climate-friendly water-cooled chillers.

"The Government will continue to work closely with industry stakeholders and support them in reducing HFC consumption and shifting towards climate-friendly alternatives," the authorities said.

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