Updated September 21, 2022 at 5:46 PM ET
About 6 years after The U.S. backed the negotiations, and the Senate voted 69-27 to formally phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), industrial chemicals commonly used in air conditioners and refrigerators, insulating foams and pharmaceutical inhalers. voted to ratify a global climate treaty that would reduce
The Kigali Amendment, which has been added to the Montreal Protocol’s climate treaty, aims to significantly reduce the global use of the compound.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Wednesday that “this measure will go a long way toward cooling the planet, while creating tens of thousands of American jobs.”
HFCs were widely adopted in the 1980s and 1990s to replace another group of chemicals that deplete the earth’s ozone layer, the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). But after the switch, HFCs have emerged as some of the most potent greenhouse gases, hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a successful global HFC phase-out could limit global warming to 0.5 degrees Celsius (about 1 degree Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. As the world struggles to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius this century and avoid a catastrophic tipping point, scientists say even half a degree could make a big difference.
The United States has already taken steps to eliminate HFCs.
HFC reduction is one area of climate policy where environmentalists, manufacturers and politicians agree.
“Stakeholders, from businesses to environmental groups, called on the Senate to ratify the bipartisan Kigali Amendment,” said Steven Yurek, president and chief executive of the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Association, an industry group. CEO said.
Republicans support phase-out Democrats and climate activists hail it as good climate policy. The United States was involved in negotiating, but not ratifying, the Amendment signed in Kigali, Rwanda in 2016. More than 130 countries have signed in some form, according to the United Nations.
US is already taking action Comply with the Amendment before actually ratifying it. In December 2020, Congress passed the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM) as part of the appropriations bill. This would allow the EPA to phase out 85% of HFC production and consumption over his 15-year period.
Industry groups such as the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy said the AIM Act is important, but that amendments still need to be ratified for US companies to be truly competitive.
“This will enhance market access. These are highly competitive industries globally, with China being the most competitive,” said Kevin Faye, Executive Director.
His group argues that ratifying the amendments would “add 33,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs, increase exports by $5 billion, reduce imports by nearly $7 billion, and improve HVACR by 2027.” We estimate that [Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration] By ensuring that U.S. companies adopt the standards necessary to sell products in countries that have already ratified the measure.
On the climate side, there is some evidence that promises to reduce HFC use have not been kept. In a study published in Nature Communications in 2021, atmospheric levels of HFC-23, the most potent HFC, were detected by scientists in China and India, countries that produce the majority of the compounds that convert to HFCs. It turns out that it should be much lower than the value. Twenty-three people accurately reported the reduction.
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