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The world has taken an important step on the road to drastically reduce the production and consumption of powerful greenhouse gasses known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and limit global warming, with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer coming into force on 1st January 2019.
If fully supported by governments, the private sector and citizens, the Kigali Amendment will avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming this century while continuing to protect the ozone layer. The amendment will substantively contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement.
HFCs are organic compounds frequently used as refrigerants in air conditioners and other devices as alternatives to ozone-depleting substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol.While HFCs themselves do not deplete the ozone layer, they are extremely potent greenhouse gases with global warming potentials that can be many times higher than carbon dioxide.
The parties to the amendment have put in place practical arrangements for its implementation, including agreements on technologies for the destruction of HFCs and new data reporting requirements and tools. The amendment comes with provisions for capacity-building for developing countries, institutional strengthening and the development of national strategies to reduce HFCs and replace them with alternatives. Phasing down HFCs under the Kigali Amendment may also open a window to redesign cooling equipment that is more energy efficient, further increasing the climate gains.
Implementation of new targets set out in the amendment will be done in three phases, with a group of developed countries starting HFCs phase-down from 2019. Developing countries will follow with a freeze of HFCs consumption levels in 2024 and with a few countries freezing consumption in 2028.
Ratified by 65 countries so far, the Kigali Amendment builds on the historic legacy of the Montreal Protocol agreed in 1987. The Protocol and its previous amendments, which require the phasing out of the production and consumption of substances that cause ozone depletion, have been universally ratified by 197 parties.
The broad support for and implementation of the Montreal Protocol has led to the phase-out of more than 99 per cent of nearly 100 ozone-depleting chemicals and significantly contributed to climate change mitigation.
Evidence presented in the latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000. At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition has campaigned globally since its founding to reduce HFCs, a highly potent cliamte forcer and short-lived climate pollutant. Coalition countries and partners worked together to get an agreement to pass the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, and were among the first to ratify it.
UN Environment, which hosts the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Secretaritat, also hosts the UN Environment Ozone Secretariat, which is the Secretariat for the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The Ozone Secretariat facilitates and supports the parties to the Vienna Convention and the Montreal Protocol and other stakeholders in implementing actions to protect and heal the ozone layer and contribute to climate change mitigation.
UN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world.
This press release first appeared on the UN Environment website here.
For more information contact:
Dan Teng’o, Communications Officer, UN Environment Ozone Secretariat
Shari Nijman, Communications Officer, UN Environment News and Media Unit
Tiy Chung, Communications Officer, Climate and Clean Air Coalition
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