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U.S. Conservatives Press Trump to Reject Kigali Amendment

Nearly two dozen U.S. conservative groups led by the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Heritage Action are pressuring the Trump administration to withdraw from the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a 2016 agreement that would be sufficient on its own to reduce average global warming by nearly 1.0°C.

The amendment, which key U.S. businesses support and have already invested heavily to implement, has been “a bright spot amid general climate darkness,” David Doniger and Alex Hillbrand of the Natural Resources Defense Council wrote last fall. “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.”

But now, The Hill reports, the conservative groups are complaining that Kigali “would impose restrictions on production of the affordable refrigerants currently used in most types of air conditioning and refrigeration units and necessitate their likely replacement with more expensive alternatives.” Their letter to the White House says implementation of the amendment would result in “higher costs for households, motorists, and businesses that rely on air conditioning and refrigeration.”

In a joint report in April, the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy concluded that adoption of the amendment would strengthen U.S. exports. “Without Kigali ratification, growth opportunities will be lost along with the jobs to support that growth, the trade deficit will grow, and the U.S. share of global export markets will decline,” they wrote.

However, “big businesses, including the U.S. refrigerator industry, are also supportive of the agreement, urging the Trump administration to stay committed to the deal because of the business potential of new regulations,” The Hill writes. “The industry hopes to convince the administration that staying in will create U.S. jobs, due to the fact that the country is a leader in refrigerant products, and the pact will likely drive new demand for their expertise globally.

In mid-June, a group of 13 Republican senators, including John Kennedy (LA) and Susan Collins (ME), urged Trump to submit Kigali for Senate ratification. They said the deal would produce 33,000 manufacturing jobs and increase exports by US$4.8 billion.