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Green light for Kigali Amendment

Global efforts to dramatically reduce super greenhouse gases in the fight against climate change have seen a major advance as the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol received ratification.

On 17 November, Sweden became the 20th country to formally ratify the Amendment, meaning that it will now come into force from 1 January 2019. 

The Kigali Amendment is a landmark agreement adopted in October 2016 to control the consumption and production of climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a family of synthetic chemicals commonly used in refrigeration, air conditioning, fire protection, aerosols and foams.

Clare Perry, head of the Environmental Investigation Agency's (EIA) Climate Campaign, said: “The Montreal Protocol, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this week in Montreal, is already rightly lauded as the world’s most successful international environmental treaty after it brought under control the production and use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were found in the mid-1980s to be destroying the ozone layer.

“The ozone layer is now on the path to recovery, a fact that should give us great optimism for the Protocol’s expertise and ability to tackle HFCs with the same, and hopefully even greater, effectiveness.”

The Kigali Amendment mandates a global phase-down of HFCs to about 15 percent of current levels of consumption. HFCs are thousands of times more potent than CO2 but can be replaced by climate-friendly refrigerants such as propane and ammonia.

Successful implementation of the Kigali Amendment will avoid an estimated 80 billion tonnes CO2 equivalent of emissions by 2050, representing the largest one-off climate mitigation measure ever adopted.

Developed countries will undergo the first control measures, with a 10 percent reduction in HFC consumption in 2019 followed by a 40 percent reduction in 2024. Meanwhile, developing countries will freeze and then start to reduce their HFC consumption starting in 2024. However, a large number of developing countries have already indicated their intention to move more quickly.

Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA US Climate Campaign lead, concluded: “It is worth celebrating that within a year of agreeing to the Kigali Amendment we are ready for its entry into force in 2019.

“However, the real work to ensure that none of the climate benefits are left behind on the table begins now – including ensuring sufficient funding for the next three years is agreed at next week’s Meeting of the Parties.

“The Amendment sends signals to markets but it will take a sustained effort to ensure we have the fastest global transition to the most climate-friendly cooling technology.”

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