The Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) has released the ‘2024 Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Quota Allocation Plan’ on 6 November 2023. In unveiling the plan, the MEE has significantly raised China’s ambition in combatting climate change and ozone layer depletion. The plan, rooted in the Kigali Amendment and subsequent regulatory updates, underscores China’s commitment to environmental sustainability and aligns with international agreements aimed at scaling back the production and usage of HFCs.
Essentially, the plan signifies a move towards freezing HFC production and usage by 2024. By setting specific limits on HFC production (1.853 billion tons CO2eq), domestic use (0.895 billion tons CO2eq), and imports (0.01 billion tons CO2eq), the plan establishes a robust framework for controlling these potent synthetic greenhouse gases. The plan is based on rules updated in September 2021, which added HFCs to the list of controlled substances. This move provided a clear mandate for the annual allocation of quotas. A noteworthy aspect of the plan is its consideration for quota continuity and market stability. The emphasis on continuity ensures a smooth transition for industries, fostering stability and predictability in the marketplace. By prioritising market stability, the plan aims to prevent disruptions while simultaneously encouraging fair competition and responsible industry practices.
MEE announced that next steps will focus on ensuring effective communication and training, streamlining quota issuance procedures, and enhancing supervision and verification measures. This is supposed to guarantee the implementation of the quota system.
In conclusion, the plan demonstrates China’s comprehensive approach to environmental governance. By aligning with international agreements, integrating HFCs into controlled substances, and setting clear and ambitious targets, China made the first step towards implementing the Kigali Amendment. As China moves forward with the implementation of the plan, further measures have to follow.