Montreal Protocol Meeting In Vienna

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As the world prepares for the games in Rio, a marathon of different sorts ended Sunday, July 24 in Vienna, Austria.  Over a 9 day period, the United Nations Environmental Program resumed and completed the 37th Open Ended Working Group (OEWG) of the Montreal Protocol.  Then opened the 38th OWEG, and in an unprecedented move, concurrently held a 3rd extraordinary meeting of the Parties (MOP).  All of this activity is in an effort to reach an agreement to amend the ozone protection treaty (the Montreal Protocol) in a way that would phase-down the use of high GWP refrigerants (HFCs).

The Obama administration has put a high priority in achieving an agreement this year, targeting the mid-October Meeting of the Parties in Kigali, Rwanda to get it across the finish-line.  Evidence of this commitment was demonstrated in the participation of high-level members of the President’s cabinet in Vienna.  Namely, Secretary of State John Kerry and EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy.

Johnson Controls has long been considered a global thought leader in sustainability and, with our broad global HVAC&R product portfolio, was sought out by Administrator McCarthy several times during the meetings to provide input into the negotiations.  On the day that Secretary of State John Kerry attended the meetings, Bill McQuade, Executive Director for Global Efficiency and Sustainability Policy, joined an exclusive  number of industry representatives that met with Kerry, McCarthy and other high level members of the State Department and U.S. EPA to discuss progress and negotiation strategy for the days ahead.

One of the main hurdles in the race for an agreement is the need for more research to update product safety standards and building codes to allow for safe use of flammable refrigerants.  Johnson Controls has shown tremendous leadership in this area by donating $100,000 to ASHRAE last June, specifically for that purpose.

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