Saturday, October 15, 2016

Kigali HFCs agreement - climate deal which may be more practically important than Paris accords

The amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer endorsed in Kigali is the single largest contribution the world has made towards keeping the global temperature rise 'well below' 2 degrees Celsius. Leaders from 170 countries agreed to cut the worldwide use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.
The rapid increase in HFC emissions - at 10% a year - is due in part to a growing demand for cooling, particularly in developing countries with hot climates and an expanding middle class. The deal is expected to lead to the reduction of the equivalent of 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere — about two times the carbon pollution produced annually by the entire world. The agreed reduction in HFCs could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) of global warming by the end of this century.
The agreement puts in place unique targets and timetables with wealthier countries agreeing to halt production HFCs sooner than poorer nations. The agreement will work in three tiers:
- The richest countries, like the United States and the European Union will stop production and use of HFCs by 2018.
- The majority of the world, including China, Brazil and the continent of Africa will catch up by 2024.
- The remainder, including India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have a target of 2028 to phase out HFCs.