The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced earlier today that nearly 200 countries struck a landmark deal to reduce the emission of a powerful greenhouse gas, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), in a move that could prevent up to 0.5 degrees celsius of global warming by the end of this century, see: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=27086&ArticleID=36283&l=en
UNEP claims that:
amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone
Layer endorsed in Kigali today is the single largest contribution the
world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise "well below" 2
degrees Celsius, a target agreed at the Paris climate conference last
"Last year in Paris, we promised to keep the
world safe from the worst effects of climate change. Today, we are
following through on that promise," said UN Environment chief Erik
"This is about much more than the ozone
layer and HFCs. It is a clear statement by all world leaders that the
green transformation started in Paris is irreversible and unstoppable.
It shows the best investments are those in clean, efficient
Commonly used in refrigeration and
air conditioning as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are
currently the world's fastest growing greenhouse gases, their emissions
increasing by up to 10 per cent each year. They are also one of the
most powerful, trapping thousands of times more heat in the Earth's
atmosphere than carbon dioxide (CO2).
faster we act, the lower the financial costs will be, and the lighter
the environmental burden on our children," said President of Rwanda Paul
"That begins with a clear signal that
change is coming and it is coming soon. In due course, new innovations
and products will allow us to phase out HFCs even faster, and at lower
The rapid growth of HFCs in recent years has
been driven by a growing demand for cooling, particularly in developing
countries with a fast-expanding middle class and hot climates. The
Kigali amendment provides for exemptions for countries with high ambient
temperatures to phase down HFCs at a slower pace.
is not often you get a chance to have a 0.5-degree centigrade reduction
by taking one single step together as countries - each doing different
things perhaps at different times, but getting the job done," said US
Secretary of State John Kerry.
"If we continue to
remember the high stakes for every country on Earth, the global
transition to a clean energy economy is going to accelerate."
Phase down schedule
seven years of negotiations, the 197 Montreal Protocol parties reached a
compromise, under which developed countries will start to phase down
HFCs by 2019. Developing countries will follow with a freeze of HFCs
consumption levels in 2024, with some countries freezing consumption in
By the late 2040s, all countries are expected to consume no more than 15-20 per cent of their respective baselines.
Financing and alternatives to HFCs
also agreed to provide adequate financing for HFCs reduction, the cost
of which is estimated at billions of dollars globally. The exact amount
of additional funding will be agreed at the next Meeting of the Parties
in Montreal, in 2017. Grants for research and development of affordable
alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons will be the most immediate priority.
to HFCs currently being explored include substances that do not deplete
the ozone layer and have a smaller impact on the climate, such as
ammonia or carbon dioxide. Super-efficient, cost effective cooling
technologies are also being developed, which can help protect the
climate both through reducing HFCs emissions and by using less energy.
Kigali Amendment comes only days after two other climate action
milestones: sealing the international deal to curb emissions from
aviation and achieving the critical mass of ratifications for the Paris
climate accord to enter into force.´