The world has taken an essential step on the path to dramatically decrease the production and consumption of potent greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and reduce global warming. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer that came into action on January 1, 2019, shows that the world is finally taking the threat of global warming seriously.
If fully supported by governments, the private sector, and all the citizens, the Kigali Amendment will prevent up to 0.4°C of global warming this century while continuing to protect the ozone layer. The change will contribute to the Paris Agreement’s goals.
HFCs are organic compounds often used as refrigerants in air conditioners and other devices. While HFCs don’t deplete the ozone layer, they are extremely potent greenhouse gases with effects much higher than carbon dioxide.
What Is The Kigali Amendment?
The U.N. said in a statement that the Kigali Amendment alone if fully implemented (meaning by all nations), can prevent 0.4°C of the rise in average global temperatures this century. Under the terms of the amendment, the 65 countries which have approved the modification agree to lower their production and use of HFCs by higher than 80% over the following 30 years. Countries in the deal include Mexico, Canada, Australia, Japan, and the countries of the European Union.
According to the Hill, the United Nations is currently cheering a first of its kind climate pact to curb the use of a greenhouse gas which went into effect on January 1, 2019. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, settled under the Obama government in 2016, came into action at the start of the year and contrasted the 65 nations who ratified the amendment to reduce their hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) emissions dramatically.
On its support, the Trump government has remained undecided despite the Obama administration’s role in negotiating the deal. Last February, Trump’s advisor for global policy, George David Banks, stated that he and his co-workers were still analyzing the 2016 pact to determine if they would urge the president to approve it.
It has been a set of frustrating series of heel-dragging by the Trump government for industry representatives and environmentalists alike that have fought to remain committed to the Kigali Agreement.
The Trump government’s pro-industry, anti-environment policies have directed them to reverse or try to undo many environmental regulations and to open formally protected areas to drilling and mining. However, in this case, they appear to be overlooking that many see the Kigali Amendment to be very helpful to business, not harmful, while also serving the environment.
What Is The US Government Working On?
Back in June, thirteen Republican senators sent President Trump a letter requesting him to present the amendment to the Senate for acceptance, citing, the change would increase production jobs by 33,000 and increase exports by $4.8 billion. Meanwhile, the EPA of the Trump administration, which appears to be re-evaluating the agreement and its validity to protecting the environment, has sought to permit an increase in the use of HFCs by reversing a 2016 Obama government rule that wanted to phase them out.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also trying to change previous plans to regulate the use of HFCs nationally. In September, the agency announced it would halt limitations on the use of HFCs in refrigerators and other cooling units throughout America. The draft rule especially deleted language on how young kids are impacted by climate change. The new law would withdraw a 2016 regulation which would have stopped the use of HFCs in appliances.
The Trump government continues to challenge the validity of the scientific community, including the verdicts of its government scientists that human activity is contributing to climate change. Immediate measures are necessary merely to lower the size of the looming issues of climate change, such as significant reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.
Trump pulled from the Paris Climate Accord, has dragged his heels on the Kigali Amendment and in so doing has estranged our nation and himself from the precedents and key allies set by the previous administration.
It often seems like Trump rejects any product of the prior administration which would incorporate the Obama administration’s discussions that helped to move the Kigali Amendment without considering the merits. Climate change is happening.
- The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal protocol will lessen the proposed creation and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by higher than 80 percent during the following 30 years.
- If fully supported, the change can avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century.
- About 65 nations have ratified the amendment, with more expected to come in soon.
Action To Take
The parties to the change have to put practical provisions for its execution including contracts on technologies for the demolition of HFCs and new statistics reporting necessities and tools. The amendment comes with rules for institutional strengthening, capacity-building for developing countries and the development of strategies reduce HFCs and replace them. Phasing HFCs down under the Kigali Amendment can open a window to redesign cooling equipment that is more energy efficient, also raising the climate improvements.
Implementation of new goals set will be carried out in three stages with a group of nations starting HFCs phase-down from 2019. Developing countries will follow a freeze of HFC-intake levels in 2024 and with a couple of nations freezing incorporation in 2028. Approved by 65 countries till now, the Kigali Amendment builds on the heritage of the Montreal Protocol agreed in 1987.
The Protocol and its earlier revisions, which require the phasing out consumption and production of compounds that cause ozone depletion, have been ratified by 197 parties. Implementation and the support for of the Montreal Protocol have resulted in the phase-out of over 99 percent of almost 100 ozone-depleting compounds and significantly contributed to climate change modification.
Evidence presented in the most current Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion indicates that the ozone layer in areas of the stratosphere has recovered a rate of 1-3 percent per decade since 2000.