The annual Meeting of Parties to the Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer took place on 12-16 November 2012 in Geneva, preceded on 11 November by a seminar to celebrate the Protocol's 25th anniversary. Connie Hedegaard, European Commissioner for Climate Action, participated in a high-level panel discussion which reviewed the 25 years of experience and considered how this might offer pointers for addressing other global challenges such as climate change.
Among other agenda items, the Meeting of Parties discussed proposals, which the EU supports, to include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol in order to achieve a global phase-down of these gases. No consensus could be reached on establishing a formal contact group but an informal discussion group was set up.
On alternatives to ozone-depleting substances, a decision was adopted asking the Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) to provide a report in 2013 describing all commercially available alternatives. This report will be a very useful element in the future discussions on HFCs.