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Morocco and other African countries are driving some of the most aggressive climate protection campaigns worthy of note at the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28) in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. These include the following two significant developments:

The Bank of Africa with the University of Maryland proved that retiring older air conditioners that were inefficient when purchased and improperly installed and serviced for energy efficiency when replaced with the latest air conditioners (ACs) can reduce electricity consumption by up to 70% for fast pay-back of the investment.

The Parties to the universally ratified Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer (Montreal Protocol) met in Nairobi, Kenya, from 23 to 27 October 2023. At this meeting, the Parties negotiated a number of decisions which are critical for protection of countries in Africa that are “ground zero” for the impacts of severe climate change. With leadership from the African Group, involving Ghana and Morocco, this includes Decision XXXV/13 on the Import and Export of Prohibited Cooling Equipment.

• Decision XXXV/13 reflects the shared responsibility of importing and exporting countries to halt the longstanding issue of dumping energy-inefficient cooling equipment containing obsolete refrigerants.

• The preambular language in the Decision recognizes that the dumping in vulnerable developing countries of inefficient cooling equipment containing obsolete refrigerants is a problem that requires solutions involving both exporting and importing parties. It also welcomes measures from certain Parties to prohibit, in their domestic regulations, the export of cooling equipment that does not satisfy their national regulations or that is inconsistent with their standards.

• The main text in the Decision essentially requests that the Protocol’s financing organization, the Executive Committee of the Multilateral Fund, consider allocating funding for importing developing-country Parties to develop and enforce policies and measures to prevent future Montreal- Protocol noncompliance caused by the import of cooling equipment. To reinforce the shared responsibility aims of the Decision, this text then urges Parties to consider prohibitions on the export of cooling equipment relying on controlled substances that is no longer permitted to be placed on the market in the exporting party.

• African Group leadership initiated and then opened the door for better understanding of and action on this problem. This leadership realizes that money saved on electricity from more efficient and increasingly necessary cooling equipment can be spent locally on education, nutrition, health, and other goods and services for quality of life. This money circulates longer in local communities rather than being spent for imported powerplants and fuel.

• Morocco, Mauritius, and other developing-country champions raised the alarm on this issue within the Montreal Protocol community during the chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) transition almost three decades ago! More recently, African Group convened the Workshop on Dumping New, Inefficient Appliances on Africa in August 2023, hosted by the Climate & Clean Air Coalition in Paris, France. The Workshop report is available here. The workshop enabled African delegates to deepen their knowledge of the problem, address technical questions with experts, and discuss solutions. Technical reports from CLASP and IGSD provided data on the dumping situation, first in 2020 on the largest air conditioner markets in Africa, and subsequently in 2023 on the largest Southeast Asian air conditioner markets, provided necessary foundations for analyzing the problem and solutions. Awareness of the problem among cooling equipment exporter and importer countries has expanded, and continues to expand. It is relevant that the Ozone Secretariat of the Montreal Protocol will host a side event on 2 December 2023 at COP28 on Pathways to Prevent the Dumping of Inefficient Appliances with Obsolete Refrigerants. Also relevant, the U.S. and China Sunnylands Statement on Enhancing Cooperation to Address the Climate Crisis (14 November 2023) provides, in part, “[t]he two countries intend to work together under the Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs and commit to ensure application of ambitious minimum efficiency standards for all cooling equipment manufactured.”

The global community looks forward to continued African leadership as we collaborate to preserve the environment for future generations.