The United States is getting ready to ratify the Kigali Amendment and throw its support behind an effort to phase down climate-busting hydrofluorocarbon emissions, a senior U.S. diplomat told an international meeting in Montreal last week.
“The United States believes the Kigali Amendment represents a pragmatic and balanced approach to phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs,” said Judith Garber, principal deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs.
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“There are a number of steps in our domestic process that we would need to complete before reaching a final decision on transmittal of the Kigali Amendment to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent,” she explained. “There is no timeline currently determined for these steps, but we have initiated the process to consider U.S. ratification of the amendment.”
The HFC amendment, which on its own could reduce average global warming by at least 0.5°C, “has received broad support from U.S. industry,” Cooling Post notes. “The world’s leading refrigerant manufacturers, Honeywell and Chemours, both U.S. companies, have invested heavily in lower-GWP [global warming potential] HFC replacements, as have the leading U.S. air conditioning and refrigeration equipment manufacturers.”
“The Trump administration’s support for Kigali, which is backed by American industry and environmentalists, is a welcome difference from its rejection of the Paris climate agreement, and a bright spot amid general climate darkness,” note David Doniger and Alex Hillbrand of the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Montreal conference, the 29th since the adoption of the Montreal Protocol banning chlorofluorocarbons that were damaging the ozone layer, also agreed to a three-year, US$540-million funding package, five to 10% of which will be devoted to the HFC effort.
“The U.S. is expected to contribute about $37 million per year,” Doniger and Hillbrand write, and “with the backing of both industry and environmental organizations, Congress is expected to appropriate these funds.