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Ministry of Environment and Water to raise awareness on ozone layer protection
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Ministry of Environment and Water to raise awareness on ozone layer protection

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The Ministry of Environment and Water, in partnership with the Emirates Authority for Standardisation and Metrology, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE Falcon Chapter), the, Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), is organising the year’s regional symposium on ‘Alternative Refrigerants for High-Ambient Countries’ in Dubai.

Under the patronage of Dr. Rashid Ahmad bin Fahad, Minister of Environment and Water, the fourth edition of the high-profile event will take place from October 28 to 29, 2014 at the Sofitel hotel Down Town Dubai under the theme: ‘Risk Assessment of Future Refrigerants in Production, Installation, and Service.’ High-level representatives from international associations, research institutes and relevant industries and organizations will participate in the symposium to discuss next-generation low-global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant solutions for commercial and air-conditioning applications. The dialogue is expected to particularly help high-ambient temperature countries especially in terms of evaluating low-GWP alternatives.

The global refrigeration and air-conditioning industry has been immensely challenged in choosing which refrigerants to adopt in the next decades following the production phase-out of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) variants -- both of which are considered ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) by the Montreal Protocol. ODSs are substances which deplete the ozone layer and are widely used in refrigerators and air-conditioners, among others.

Furthermore, experts have raised the alarm against the use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), the current alternative to CFC and HCFC, citing the high-GWP values of most HFC substances. Accordingly, several countries have begun applying restrictions on HFCs and many are expected to follow suit. This trend is projected to dramatically change the landscape of the global refrigeration and air-conditioning industry as it moves towards adopting low-GWP alternatives.

Othaiba Al Qaydi, Director of Chemicals and hazardous waste department, Ministry of Environment and Water, said, "Over the last three years, the UAE and UNEP, in cooperation with regional and international partners, have been collaborating together to address concerns and challenges related to refrigerant alternatives for the air-conditioning industry in high-ambient climates. Organising specialised and highly technical events such as the upcoming regional symposium in Dubai is one of the major steps that we are regularly undertaking for in-depth discussions of relevant issues. The regional symposium also offers a platform for relevant international and regional stakeholders to keep abreast of new industry developments. The event’s extensive learning and networking opportunities will help concerned countries to design a roadmap towards promoting environmental protection and sustainability." The latest edition of the two-day symposium on ‘Alternative Refrigerants for High-Ambient Countries’ will feature several technical sessions and exclusive special meetings, all of which will be conducted in the English language. The key topics lined up this year are based on the feedback and inputs of countries and organisations that have participated in previous symposiums and are aligned with UNEP-UNIDO’s initiative to promote low-GWP alternatives in high-ambient countries.

Among the topics to be discussed are global dynamic refrigerant policies for the air-conditioning industry, international and regional initiatives to assess and promote future refrigerants, and risk assessment in the production of systems using future refrigerants.

"The upcoming symposium falls in line with the ministry’s efforts to develop and implement innovative solutions to protect the environment and promote sustainability in accordance with UAE Vision 2021. The UAE Government has already put in place significant measures to contain all substances that contribute to ozone layer depletion. The ministry, in particular, is intensifying its communications with both the private and public sectors to achieve the objectives outlined in the Montreal Protocol. We also remain steadfast in implementing programs that will raise public awareness on the impact of the continuous depletion of ozone layer on human health and entire ecosystems," said Othaiba Al Qaydi.

In 1989, the UAE joined the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. It also supported the Four Amendments of the Montreal Protocol, namely the London Amendment in 1990, the Copenhagen Amendment in 1992, the Montreal Amendment in 1997, and the Beijing Amendment in 1999.











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