Speeches & Transcripts

Statement in Commemoration of International Ozone Day 2014

September 15, 2014

Bert Hofman, World Bank Country Director for China International Ozone Day 2014 theme ~ “Ozone Layer Protection: The Mission Goes On” Beijing, China

As Prepared for Delivery

Venue: Foreign Economic Cooperation Office (FECO), Ministry of Environmental Protection

Date: Monday September 15, 2014

Important Steps Along the Path of a Thousand Mile Journey

Thank you Vice Minister Zhai Qing, Mr. Chen Liang, Ms. Tina Birmpili, ladies and gentlemen.

It is an honor for me to join you to share in celebrating International Ozone Day and in recognizing the key role that China’, as an important Party to the Montreal Protocol, have played and continues to play in achieving global environmental objectives.

The World Bank Group has been working with China to promote green development to address China's environmental challenges and to make green development a new driver for growth. Our program in China emphasizes knowledge sharing and cooperation through advice and analytical products and through public and private sector investments that introduce and demonstrate new approaches which are later adopted or scaled up at the provincial and national level.

This is the case of the long-standing, ongoing partnership between China and the World Bank for the Montreal Protocol.  The program has supported China in fulfilling its obligations and contributed important co-benefits through climate change mitigation. Over the past 20 years, the World Bank–China Montreal Protocol partnership has phased-out more than 219,000 tons of ozone-depleting substances, nearly three years ahead of the Montreal Protocol schedule.  This work has also resulted in avoided emissions of 885 million tons of CO2 equivalent, which compares to eliminating the annual emissions of more than 180 million passenger vehicles.

Today’s announced production closures are part of the China-World Bank HCFC production sector phase-out strategy, supported by a US $95 million grant from the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol. This voluntary approach to rewarding early movers builds on the innovative reverse auction program that was jointly developed by FECO and the Bank team almost twenty years ago. 

This action speaks volumes regarding the commitment that China has towards the Montreal Protocol, given that 16 percent of the country’s total HCFC production capacity, slated to close by 2030, will now have been eliminated within China’s first stage HCFC phase-out project by 2015. It marks a major leap forward for the Montreal Protocol’s global targets, and sends a strong signal to the global market that production closure is speeding forward and generating important climate co-benefits.

I would like to sincerely congratulate and commend the staff of FECO on this significant achievement, only two years into project effectiveness.  I would also like to thank the five producers (Yingpeng Chemical Co., Ltd.; Zhejiang DongYang Chemical Co., Ltd.; Jiangsu Blue Star Green Technology Co., Ltd.; Hangzhou First Chemical Co., Ltd.; and, Yantai Zhongrui Chemical Co., Ltd.) for rising to the occasion and partnering with FECO on this important global initiative. Your presence at this event reflects the importance of this milestone and the strong compliance standard China holds with respect to its Montreal Protocol HCFC phase-out obligations and the global environment benefits they generate.  

Yet the benefits do not end there. The HCFC production closure effort we laud today will also yield significant avoided CO2 emissions that will result from the production closure of HCFCs with high global warming potential, as well as from the related off-gas shut down of HFC at two of the enterprises. Together, an aggregate reduction in the order of 93 million tons of CO2 equivalent will be achieved, which equates with eliminating the annual emissions of approximately 19.5 million passenger vehicles.

Today’s achievement marks a positive first step of a new thousand mile journey into the future, one that challenges us to build on past experience and expertise and continue to innovate in facing, and meeting, the challenges of a post-HCFC world.

The World Bank is proud of the long-standing and ongoing partnership with the FECO team. The proverb states that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”. The journey of partnership in support of the Montreal Protocol has indeed been one of many steps which have laid the foundations for the implementation of innovative and sustainable phase-out activities. Thank you for putting your trust in taking this journey together with us.

We look forward to your continued success in the phase-out of the HCFC in both the production and consumption sectors and reiterate the World Bank's continued commitment in working with both China and the Montreal Protocol in support of this endeavor.  

Once again, congratulations and thank you.