Bye Bye To World’s Hottest Coolants, HFCs.

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    Credit Illustration by Oliver Munday; Photo by Getty Images

    This has to be one of the years biggest news for the planet. Find below what World Resources Institute, Climate Action Network and Center for Climate and Energy Solutions had to say about this historic agreement.

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    Today in Kigali, Rwanda, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol, agreed to an amendment to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), one of the fastest growing and most potent greenhouse gases, used primarily in cooling and refrigeration. The deal creates three categories of countries, with different schedules and timetables for reductions, and with the vast majority of countries freezing production and consumption by 2024. Altogether, the new amendment will reduce global levels of HFCs between 80 and 85% by 2047. The Montreal Protocol was originally created to reduce and eliminate ozone depleting substances, and has been hailed as the “single most effective international agreement” of any kind by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.

    Following is a quote from Andrew Light, Distinguished Senior Fellow, and former Senior Climate Change Advisor in the U.S. Department of State:

    “This amendment to the Montreal Protocol is the single most important measure the global community could take to limit global warming in the short-term. Because HFCs are thousands of times more potent as a warming agent than carbon dioxide, a successful phase down can avoid up to a half a degree Celsius of global warming by the end of this century.

    “Achieving this historic agreement was hard fought over nearly a decade of leader-level negotiations, and a result of thousands of contributions from businesses, non-governmental organizations, and faith communities. Over time an astonishing array of countries — from the largest developed and emerging economies to the most poor and vulnerable states — united to take this bold step to tackle the common threat of climate change.

    “Over the last year the global march to tackle climate change has been unwavering. The Paris Agreement, the ICAO Agreement and the Montreal Protocol amendment are three pillars that underpin a global transformation to a far safer and more prosperous planet.”

    World Resources Institute, Washington,USA.

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    Less than a year after the Paris Agreement, and just a week after a new pact limiting greenhouse gas emissions from aviation, today’s agreement in Kigali completes a powerful trifecta of international accords combating climate change. This step alone can help avoid half a degree of warming by century’s end.

    The United States again helped set the stage for agreement, adopting strong domestic regulations to limit HFCs and pressing other nations to commit to an ambitious timeline for freezing and phasing down use of these powerful climate pollutants. In an unprecedented move, foundations and other philanthropists also pledged $53 million to help developing countries move from HFCs to more energy-efficient alternatives.

    Over nearly three decades, the Montreal Protocol has virtually eliminated the substances that were damaging the Earth’s protective ozone layer. With strong support from the private sector, nations are now taking the next step by enlisting the Protocol to dramatically reduce the impact of HFCs on our climate.

    Statement of Bob Perciasepe
    President, Center for Climate and Energy Solutions.

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    Climate Action Network welcomes today the outcome from the Montreal Protocol talks in Kigali as countries agree to phase down “super greenhouse gases” known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This is a critical step towards limiting warming and the single biggest climate action of the year, just weeks before leaders meet in Morocco for international climate talks.

    The amendment establishes three different timetables for all developed and developing countries to freeze and then reduce their production and use of HFCs.
    Developed countries agreed to make their first HFC cuts by 2019. Developed nations have also committed to provide additional funds through the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund. China, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, and more than 100 other developing countries have committed to freeze their HFC production and use by 2024, and make further reductions thereafter. India, Gulf States, and Pakistan have agreed to make HFC reductions on a slower track.

    It is crucial that in the coming years countries work towards transitioning to energy efficient and environment friendly alternatives. The agreed technology review will help with rapid maturity of alternatives and enable countries to strengthen their actions.

    The news from Kigali on HFCs as well as the recent outcome on aviation emissions shows that governments are taking the objective of the Paris Agreement seriously. CAN hopes that countries will accelerate their national ambition over time but soon enough to give a fighting chance for the world to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 C.

    Representatives form civil society organisations reacted to the agreement as follows:

    “This is a major breakthrough: The world has come together to curb climate-wrecking super-pollutant HFCs. This is the biggest step we can take in the year after the Paris agreement against the widening threats from climate change. And bringing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol sends a clear signal to the global marketplace to start replacing these dangerous chemicals with a new generation of climate-friendly and energy-efficient alternatives.” David Doniger, NRDC’s Climate and Clean Air program director.

    “The success of this agreement will be determined by how much developing countries can leapfrog HFCs and how much countries can avoid yet another chemical alternative like toxic HFOs and adopt natural refrigerants. This will be decisive in the coming months and years.” Paula Tejón Carbajal, Global strategist, Greenpeace International

    “The agreement reflects the willingness of all parties to take action on climate change. What we have achieved at Kigali is the beginning. We can build on this success and further enhance the climate actions by countries under the Montreal Protocol and in other climate agreements, especially the Paris Agreement.” Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE

    “To aid the switch to newer and safer natural refrigerants, sufficient funding will be required through the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to enable poorer countries to invest in the new technology. It is vital that developed countries also share their progress on technological breakthroughs.” Benson Ireri, Senior Policy Advisor, Christian Aid

    “The Kigali Amendment, just prior to the adoption of the Paris Agreement, brings concrete global action to fight catastrophic global warming. Still, with billions of tonnes of emissions still up for grabs, the ultimate success of the Kigali amendment will depend on accelerating the removal of these industrial climate-killers in upcoming meetings.” Clare Perry, Climate Campaign Leader, Environmental Investigation Agency.

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