Global deal reached to cut greenhouse gases
KIGALI: Climate change negotiators from more than 170 nations agreed on Saturday to begin limiting heat-trapping greenhouse gases known as HFCs, often used in air conditioners and refrigerators.
The legally binding accord, agreed upon in the Rwandan capital Kigali, was celebrated as the biggest environmental success since last year’s Paris climate deal, which aims to limit the global temperature rise to 2°C.
US secretary of state John Kerry, who participated in the talks, called it “a huge step forward”, which would “allow us to reduce global warming by 0.5°C”.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HFCs) have been used for years as a substitute for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were once found in aerosol spray cans as well as insulation and packing materials.
CFCs were a primary cause of the hole in Earth’s ozone and were eventually banned under the 1987 Montreal Protocol.
Negotiators meeting in Kigali agreed Saturday to an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that would also curb the use of HFCs, which have a limited impact on the ozone but are a major contributor to global warming.
“We’ve moved from Paris pledges to concrete action,” said Durwood Zaelke, president of international research organisation Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.
Developed countries pledged to make first HFC cuts by 2019 and provide additional money through the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to help implement the new accord. – dpa