Deal reached on HFC greenhouse gases

fridgeMore than 150 countries have reached a deal described as “monumental” to phase out gases that are making global warming worse.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are widely used in fridges, air conditioning and aerosol sprays.

Delegates meeting in Rwanda accepted a complex amendment to the Montreal Protocol that will see richer countries cut back their HFC use from 2019.

But some critics say the compromise may have less impact than expected.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who helped forge the deal in a series of meetings in the Rwandan capital, said it was a major victory for the Earth.

“It’s a monumental step forward, that addresses the needs of individual nations but it will give us the opportunity to reduce the warming of the planet by an entire half a degree centigrade,” he told BBC News.

The new agreement will see three separate pathways for different countries.

Richer economies like the European Union, the US and others will start to limit their use of HFCs within a few years and make a cut of at least 10 per cent from 2019.

Some developing countries like China, nations in Latin America and island states will freeze their use of HFCs from 2024.

Other developing countries, specifically India, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states will not freeze their use until 2028.

China, the world’s largest producer of HFCs, will not actually start to cut their production or use until 2029.

India, will start even later, making its first 10 per cent cut in use in 2032.

“Absolutely it’s a historic day,” said Durwood Zaelke, from the Institute for Government and Sustainable Development (IGSD), a long time participant in the Montreal Protocol talks.




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