Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol

Taiwan is not a Party to the Montreal Protocol, but it has striven to control and phase out ODS proactively since the date the agreement ratified. Despite all the difficulties, Taiwan committed to comply with control measures set to the industrialized nations (non-Article 5 countries) to this multilateral environmental agreement voluntarily. It has phased out consumption of various regulated Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) since 1994, including halon, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and methyl bromide, as well as reduced level of consumption of Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) according the agenda stipulated in the protocol.

Consumption of Ozone Depleting Substances

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

Taiwan phased out CFCs completely in 1996, which is fully complied with the control measures to the non-Article 5 countries to the Montreal protocol. The highest calculated level of consumption of CFCs was 16,255 metric tons in 1988. Substances were used chiefly as refrigerants, cleaning solvent, foam blowing agents and propellants in spray can. In 1996 the consumption level was reduced to zero and maintain at that level since. However, there is average 4 metric tons of CFCs annually used in manufacturing metered-dose inhalers in Taiwan, which is classified as essential use and could be exempted in the Montreal Protocol no later than 2010.

Figure 1
Figure 1: The Calculated Level of CFCs Consumption in Taiwan

 

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)

HCFCs have been used as one of the alternative substances for CFCs since 1996. However, non-HCFCs technologies were also developed intensively during that period in order to avoid the same problem countered by phasing out CFCs. The calculated baseline level of HCFCs consumption were set according to the measure in the Montreal Protocol to the non-Article 5 countries, which is around 638 ODP tones for Taiwan. As a result, consumption of HCFCs was reduced from around 630 ODP metric tons in 1996 to 383 ODP metric tons in 2004, which indicated a 40% reduction from the baseline level, far ahead of the 35% reduction schedule set to the non-Annex 5 parties to the Montreal protocol. The consumption level was maintained around this level since then. The consumption was 377 ODP tones in 2008.

Taiwan government also responded to the decision made in the 19th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer promptly, which adjusted the control measures to HCFCs. Adjustment to national consumption level has been made in the revised HCFC Consumption Management law in 2009. This means a 75% reduction of HCFCs to the baseline level will need to be attained by 2010.

 

Figure 2
Figure 2: HCFCs Consumption In Taiwan

 

Halons and Methyl Bromide

As the result of banning the import of halon, the consumption was maintained at zero since 1994. Furthermore, according to the domestic regulations, sites or commercial buildings that equipped with halons fire extinguishers need to be audited periodically, so any untended discharge of the substance could be reduced to the minimal level. In 2005, Taiwan's EPA setup National Halons Management Center. Main function of the center is dealing with halon storage issues, like provision of halon to military and storage of unwanted halon from government department.
Methyl Bromide importation to Taiwan was used for goods quarantine and pre-shipment of wooden pallets since 1999, to meet the controlled request of Montreal Protocol early. All uses of methyl bromides in Taiwan were under the "quarantine and pre-shipment (QPS)’ category of the Montreal Protocol which means the phase out in consumption of the substances was accomplished six years early in Taiwan.

However, due to the standard initiated in 2003 (ISPM No.15 Guideline) by the International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) only approved two methods, which were fumigation with methyl bromide and heat treatment, to reduce risks associated with packaging material in the international trade.

In order to lower the demand for methyl bromide, the alterative heat treatment has been collaboratively promoted by the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection Quarantine of the COA and the EPA. The Inspection Bureau has assisted the lumber industry on the research and development of heat treatment equipment since 2002.
Taiwan started to promote heat treatment in April 2004, which was adopted as the main measure for reducing the use of methyl bromide to meet the international standard ISPM15 for quarantine treatment of wood packaging materials in export trade.

In 2005, 17 private entities received certification for conducting quarantine and pre-shipment fumigation service that using methyl bromide and 154 entities received certification for using heat treatment. By October 2008, there were only 10 entities that demanded fumigation certification, but for the heat treatment the number has increased to 375 entities. Moreover, the importation of methyl bromide for QPS in 2008 was only 63 metric tons in Taiwan.
Our efforts of promoting heat treatment have successfully drawn international attention. During a draft proposal by the E.U. in OEWG-28,citing the report of TEAP, the representative orally praised Taiwan for successfully lowering the consumption of methyl bromide by employing heat treatment for following the ISPM 15 Guideline. The recognition encourages us to further cut down the usage and keep protecting the ozone layer.

Figure 3
Figure3. Local heat treatment facilities

 

Efforts and Accomplishments

A task force composed of government bodies, industry and academia was established in 1989 to assist formulating policy and measures in ozone layer protection. Later in 1997, a much solid framework was further established through instituting of the National Council for Sustainable Development. The Working Group for International Environmental Protection led by the Environmental Protection Administration has the jurisdiction of carrying out actives in response to the mandates of the Montreal Protocol, which include overseeing the production, import and export of controlled substances and reporting data to the Ozone Secretariat of UNEP every year.

Control Measures

Regulation that banned the import of halons and fire extinguisher contained them was first announced in 1994. And the banning of import and production of CFCs, 1,1,1-trichloroethance, and carbon tetrachloride was further amended into the regulation in 1996. For substances that were not yet stepped into the completely phase-out stage at the time such as HCFCs and methyl bromide were allowed to import through licensing system established in 1996.

Starting from July 1994, automobiles that equipped with CFCs air conditioner system manufactured locally and imported were banned. In 1996 production and imports of refrigerators with CFCs refrigerant were also banned. In the mean time, Taiwan started to freeze the consumption of HCFCs, and the HCFCs allowances were granted to the end-users, importers, and domestic producers accordingly through the licensing system.

The baseline level of HCFCs consumption were frozen in 1996 according to the measure in the Montreal Protocol to the non-Article 5 countries, followed a schedule for its gradual reduction thereof, starting from a 35% reduction of the cap by 2004, followed by a 75% reduction by 2010, a 90% reduction by 2015, a 99.5% reduction by 2020, and a total phase-out by 2030. However, 0.5% of the cap is for the servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment during the final ten years (from 2020 to 2030).

Banning uses in some industrial applications is one of the main factors for the success. Starting from 1st January 2004, and thereafter, users that apply HCFCs as foaming agent in manufacturing of soft and semi-rigid polyurethane foaming plastic, non-insulation purpose polyurethane foaming plastic, insulation purpose polyurethane foaming plastic, and as cleaning agent in manufacturing of the electronic appliance for information technology and non-electronic appliance, are required to cease the use of HCFC-141b. Furthermore, HCFC-141b as foaming agents in manufacturing of all PU foaming products and as cleaning agent in manufacturing of the electronic and communication products are required to cease the use of HCFC-141b since 2010. Moreover, HCFC-22 as refrigerant in window-type air conditioners (including split-type) having a cooling capacity below 7.1kW are required to cease the use of HCFC-22 since 2010.

To effectively reduce emission of CFCs refrigerant, Taiwan promulgated regulation that mandated refrigerant recovery equipment be used in servicing automobile air conditioner in 1993. Starting from 1995 and 1998 respectively, Taiwan mandated the recovery of refrigerants from old automobiles and home appliances. Certified dismantling plants were entrusted with the tasks.

Technical Assistance

Large portions of ODS consumed in Taiwan are as refrigerants, blowing agents, and cleaning agents, therefore technical assistances to industry sectors such as trial of alternatives, not-in-kind technology development, and recovery technology by the government and national research institutes have been focused on these sectors.
For instance, old air conditioners that used CFC-12 as the refrigerant have mostly replaced by systems that use HCFC-22, and HFC-134a was chiefly used in the compressors of the automobile and refrigerator industries. For split-type air condition, used HCFC-22 as the refrigerant has been replaced by R-410a. PU foam product blowing agents such as HCFC-141b have been replaced by cyclopentane, and after the banning of several uses in 2004 some companies have shifted to HFCs or water foaming technologies. At the moment, water or no cleaning is adopted for cleaning electronic components during manufacturing.

Bearing in mind that most developing countries now are receiving heavy financial and technology supports through the United Nations agencies and funds of the Montreal Protocol, and yet whom repeatedly expressing difficulties in compliance.

 

Stopping Illegal Trade

Although Taiwan had strict control on the use of ODS, most countries around Taiwan belong to Article 5 Parties to the Montreal Protocol and still produce various ODS that have been banned in Taiwan. Several illegal trades in ODS to Taiwan has been seized since 1993.

Cases shown that smugglers have used fake labels or separate compartment built in the container to smuggle CFCs, and incidents of smuggling trough fishing boats were increasing in the recent years. By now, there are more than 60 major incidents. CFC-12 is the most common seen seizure, which weight took up 63% of the total by ODP tones, followed by Halons (23%) and CFC-11 (9%). Smuggling of Carbon tetrachloride and CFC-113 were also detected but with small quantity.

Penalty was also raised through the 4th amendment of the Air Pollution Control Act in June 2002, smuggler could be put into prison for six months to five years and fined from around US$8,600 to US$43,000, and repeated offender could be put into prison for one year to seven year and fined from around US$14,300 to US$71,400.
Training workshops organized by government, industries and academia, have been conducted every year to assist custom officers and coast guards identify the suspicious shipment.  In addition, the custom officers training DVD were made and included the information about identification of various types of ODS and the relevant regulations.
Preventing illegal trade require intergovernmental cooperation between country’s customs agencies. Taiwan customs and coast guards are willing to cooperate with the counterparts of other countries and international organizations to stop the crime that devastating the environment.

Figure 4
Figure4. Training courses for custom officers and coast guards

Information Dissemination

To keep abreast of the development of regulations, alternatives, and related technology on ozone layer protection, and to initiate international cooperation, the government, industries and academic circles of Taiwan hold seminars and international conferences on a regular basis. The Nobel Prize winners Dr. F. Sherwood Rowland and Dr. Mario J. Molina as well as many key figures in the ozone family have been attending to the events to share their view with Taiwan participants.

A monthly newsletter "Information on the Montreal Protocol" has been issued to keep industry sectors informed on the most up-date information since 1989, and replaced by quarterly issued ‘Ozone layer protection in Taiwan’ since 2004 to date.

Activities such as "awards for the ozone layer protection" and "children painting contest" were held to raise awareness of the general public. Cartoon writing pads were made for children to have better understanding about Ozone layer protection. Publications, brochures, and technical manuals on ozone layer protection were also issued to school, business, and other stakeholders in the society. Information dissemination through Internet has also been proved to be an effective way; the specific web site was constructed to serve for such purposes.

Figure 5
Figure5. Ozone layer protection writing pad for children

 

Conclusion

Although Taiwan is not a Party to the Montreal Protocol, it has striven to control and phase out ODS proactively since the date the agreement ratified. So far, its efforts in CFCs and Halons phase-out have all been quite successful, the phase-out consumption of HCFCs to less than 65% of baseline level has also been achieved smoothly since 2004. We also have set the new measure for compliance of the 25% cap in 2010. Measures to control methyl bromide use in QPS have also been successfully executing.

Moreover, HFCs and PFCs are two of the most potent greenhouse gases listed in the Kyoto Protocol, and they have been widely accepted and used as alternatives of CFCs and HCFCs. However, Taiwan government promised to continue to raise awareness of the industries on benefits of choosing much environmentally sound alternatives, thereby government agencies has initiated programmes to survey the trend of alternatives and technologies development, and disseminate them freely to the relevant sectors.

Taiwan regards to its duty to protect the global common, our only planet in the universe, should transcend over any political interests or disputes. Thereby it has not only committed to comply with the Montreal Protocol, but continue to express its willingness of cooperation within the regime of the Protocol.

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