On September 16, 35 years of ozone layer protection were celebrated around the world. We took a look at the celebrations in four of our partner countries.
When scientists in the mid-1970s showed that stratospheric ozone was depleted and the so-called “ozone hole” was discovered, the world listened. A debate within the scientific community has been brought to a political level, and long-lasting action has been taken under the Montreal Protocol and later with its Kigali Amendment. The "International Day of the Preservation of the Ozone Layer" reminds us of the progress made in ozone protection and that collective actions on a global scale are the best way forward. Most important, it points towards the need of integrated ozone and climate protection for the environment, our health and future generations.
To raise awareness on the protection of the ozone layer and our environment, our partner countries celebrated Ozone Day 2020 with various activities. Let’s take a look at four of them!
Latin America and the Caribbean: Technology Roadshow in Grenada
When it comes to enforcing and upscaling Green Cooling, the private sector plays an important role. Based on the premise "without supply, no demand", companies play a key role in fostering sustainable development in the RAC sector. Only when climate-friendly, energy-efficient cooling technologies are available on the market at affordable prices, their diffusion will accelerate.
For this reason, the National Ozone Unit Grenada in cooperation with GIZ Proklima organised a “Technology Roadshow”, which was streamed live online. Six leading RAC companies from Grenada presented their portfolio on Green Cooling technologies. As a guest of honour, the Minister of Energy Mr. Gregory Bowen attended the event. He emphasized the importance of an integrated ozone- and climate protection and addressed the previous successes of international cooperation: "Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is on a path to recovery."
"Cooling is no longer a luxury."
In the course of the event, GIZ Proklima presented the new “Greenhouse Gas Inventory for the RAC Sector in Grenada” to the National Ozone Officer Mr. Leslie Smith. According to the report, the RAC sector was responsible for approximately 29% Grenada’s total GHG emissions in 2015, with UAC and MAC as the biggest contributors. Those emissions will almost double until 2033, mainly due to increased incomes, lower operation and maintenance costs of appliances, moderate population growth and a worldwide rise in temperatures.
“Cooling is no longer a luxury”, stated Smith. With rising temperatures, more and more comfort cooling is required, which in turn leads to higher emissions. “Sustainable cooling is not only about the equipment. There’s a number of other factors that must be taken into consideration.” The National Ozone Officer called for Green Cooling to be understood as a holistic concept, including the set-up of adequate policies and regulations to reduce the energy consumption of appliances and buildings, urban planning to reduce heat islands, district cooling that serves the community and not just individuals as well as the establishment of a skilled RAC workforce and public education.
Africa: Planting trees in Kenya
Resilience, strength or future growth – planting a tree harbors many symbols that also represent the idea behind ‘Ozone Day’. Since the Kenyan Ministry of Environment and Forestry launched a national tree-planting exercise to increase forest cover to 10% by 2022, trees have been planted at every official gathering, including this year’s Ozone Day celebrations in Michuki Park in Nairobi.
During the ceremony, Cabinet Secretary (CS) Keriako Tobiko underscored the collective need to raise awareness and advocacy towards the protection of the ozone layer for the wellbeing of humanity. He emphasized that this year’s theme 'Ozone for Life' is a reminder of individual responsibility to protect and conserve the environment. Kenya is currently in the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment, which obliges signatory states to gradually phase-down HFCs. These substances are ozone-friendly but have a negative impact on the climate due to their high global warming potential. Present during the event were Environment PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo, Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko, Chief Conservator of Forests Mr. Julius Kamau, NEMA DG Mamo B Mamo, UN-Habitat Global Public Spaces Program Representative Cecilia Andersson and GIZ Kenya Country Director Mr. Bodo Immink.
GIZ representative Immink emphasized the longstanding cooperation between the Kenyan Ministry of Environment, the National Ozone Unit and GIZ in the area of ozone and climate protection. Activities of GIZ in Kenya include capacity building programs for RAC technicians and piloting climate-friendly cooling technologies. During the course of the day, representatives of the Kenyan RAC association demonstrated best practices in handling refrigerants. They explained for example how refrigerants can be recovered properly with adequate equipment (recovery units). This prevents the avoidable leakage of refrigerants into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.
East Asia: Ozone Day conference broadcast live on national television in China
On the occasion of Ozone Day, the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) organised an international conference on "Strengthening the monitoring and management of the implementation of the Montreal Protocol and establishing a long-term mechanism for its implementation". Mr. Zhao Yingmin, Vice-Minister of MEE, also participated in the meeting, which was held via video-conference. China Central Television, China's largest public service broadcaster, showed a short report on the event in its evening news XIN WEN LIAO BO, similar to German Tagesschau or BBC News.
The Conference stressed that the Protocol and its Kigali Amendment are “historic achievements of coherent consensus and collective cooperation by the international community. It is necessary to firmly maintain multilateralism, to ensure global cooperation in the field of environmental protection and to effectively protect the earth, the only home of mankind”. Following its ratification of the Vienna Convention, China has achieved the phase-out of more than 280,000 tonnes of ozone-depleting substances.
The meeting was attended by more than 200 people from international agencies and bilateral and multilateral organisations such as GIZ, UNDP, UNEP, UNIDO and the World Bank, as well as member ministries of the National Leading Group for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, related departments and bureaus of MEE, ecological and environmental departments/bureaus of all provinces/autonomous regions/municipalities and Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, domestic research institutions, industrial associations, enterprises, and China Implementation Expert Panel.
West Asia: Iran celebrates Ozone Day online
Due to current circumstances, the National Ozone Unit of Iran decided to organise this year's Ozone Day ceremony online. Around 45 people attended, including ozone cells from all over the country.
Dr. Ebrahim Hajizadeh (Director of the National Ozone Unit) stated that the Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful international agreements and that to continue this success they hope to start working on the Kigali Amendment soon. Later in the meeting, ozone cells from three different provinces reported on their activities under the Montreal Protocol during the past year.
Afterwards, Alireza Saadatfar (project coordinator at GIZ Proklima) described the activities of GIZ within the HPMP project. For 20 years GIZ Proklima has been working with the Islamic Republic of Iran in various projects in the RAC sector. Activities include training of trainers and technicians in the RAC sector, promotion of local production of pentane (a climate-friendly foam blowing agent used to insulate refrigerators) and the conversion of more than 50 supermarkets to climate-friendly propane-based refrigeration technologies.