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Cablegate: Colombia: Interested in Hfcs Proposal, but Not Sold

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O R 301512Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0561
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
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UNCLAS BOGOTA 003430

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV AORC KGHG CO
SUBJECT: COLOMBIA: INTERESTED IN HFCS PROPOSAL, BUT NOT SOLD

REF: 09 STATE 095899; 09 BOGOTA 3081

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Per reftel, Econoffs demarched GOC
representatives from the Ministries of Environment (MOE) and
Foreign Affairs (MFA) on the U.S./Canada/Mexico proposal to add
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) to the Montreal Protocol. GOC officials
showed interest in the proposal, but emphasized that before
Colombia could take a position they seek clarification on pending
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) issues, and notably several legal,
technical, and economic concerns with the current proposal. GOC
officials would welcome the opportunity to meet with USG officials
at the upcoming conference. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On October 27, MFA and MOE officials met with Econoffs to
outline their concerns about the U.S./Canada/Mexico proposal to add
HFCs to the Montreal Protocol. MOE's Javier Camargo highlighted
GOC's interest in the proposal, but noted that at the upcoming 21st
Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, GOC officials will
seek first to resolve unfinished business regarding HCFCs. He
added that the GOC also plans to discuss its legal, technical, and
economic concerns about the current proposal.

3. (SBU) Camargo highlighted the GOC's recent success eliminating
the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). On HCFCs, however, Camargo
raised three outstanding items: 1) destruction of HCFCs; 2)
financial support to eliminate HCFCs; and 3) institutional
strengthening for implementation and enforcement. Camargo plans to
raise these items at the upcoming meeting, and indicated
institutional building could be enhanced by sharing best practices,
helping ministries manage the phasedown and destruction of HCFCs.

-------------------------------------

U.S./Canada/Mexico Proposal

-------------------------------------

4. (SBU) GOC legal concerns are focused on how parties to the
Montreal Protocol incorporate gases regulations that are currently
under the scope of the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. Econoffs responded
using reftel points, but GOC officials wanted more details.

5. (SBU) The GOC interlocutors raised several technical and
economic issues: a request for technology-transfer to help replace
HFCs with alternative climate-friendly gases; access to patented
technology from other countries (e.g. Japan) that utilizes non-HFC
gases; multilateral financing to either develop these new gases or
purchase licenses of patented technology; and financing to
implement destruction methods of HFCs and accumulated ozone
depleting substances (ODS).

6. (SBU) Camargo raised the increasing technological requirements,
as well as higher operational and capital costs, associated with
HCFC/HFC-free production. These efforts would require multilateral
financial support in order to make private sector implementation
viable. Financing would also be needed to support institutional
strengthening and guarantee implementation. Camargo highlighted
that the destruction of ODS had been included in the
Mauritius/Micronesia proposal, but not in the U.S./Canada/Mexico
proposal. He opined that it may have to do with financing.

7. (SBU) Camargo offered to discuss Colombia's views on reftel

proposal with USG officials at the November 4-8 Montreal Protocol
meeting. He added that the current proposal was timely,
particularly since the private sector is likely considering
replacing HCFCs with HFCs. More cost-effective alternatives are
needed, he stressed. Camargo hoped a roadmap would be developed
that takes into consideration pending issues and Colombia's
concerns regarding the current proposal. As an aside, Camargo
noted that Colombia's issues are in line with those of other
countries in the region.
BROWNFIELD

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