BRUSSELS, July 29 (Xinhua) -- An official with the U.N. Environment Program (UNEP) on Thursday hailed China's role in phasing out ozone depleting chemicals while launching a joint initiative with the European Commission to protect the ozone layer.
Rajendra Shende, head of the UNEP OzonAction Branch, told Xinhua that China has just completed preparing a national strategy to phase down and phase out the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFSs) and will submit it in a couple of months to the U.N. funding agency.
"China has really taken a good leadership role in phasing out HCFCs," Shende said.
China, Shende said, has realized that the phasing out of HCFCs will be good for ozone layer protection and also will help China improve energy efficiency.
Shende said, however, that it's a tremendous task for China, a major country in the producing and consuming of HCFs, and it has to go ahead with the work in a very systematic way.
Shende launched a toolbox composed of three e-books with the European Commission to help developing countries to make informed decisions about the technologies and policies needed to replace or avoid the use of HCFCs.
HCFCs are chemicals widely used in refrigeration, air-conditioning and in the creation of insulation foam. The chemicals can have global warming potentials up to 2,000 times that of carbon dioxide, the reference gas for climate change.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer was established in 1987 to protect the Earth's ozone layer and China became a signatory of the protocol in 1991.
In 2007, parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to accelerate the phase out of HCFCs to 2020 for developed countries and 2030 for developing countries.
According to the U.N.EP, 147 developing countries are currently preparing national plans to phase-out HCFCs in order to comply with their obligations under the Montreal Protocol.
A directive concerning the management of ozone depleting chemicals went into force in China on June 1. The directive aims to accelerate China's efforts in phasing out the use of HCFCs.