Landmark agreement reached in Kigali to fight global warming
A historic climate deal was reached late into the evening on October 14 in Kigali, Rwanda at the Twenty-Eighth Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (MOP28). The 1987 landmark Montreal Protocol was designed to close the growing hole in the ozone layer by banning ozone-depleting coolants called chlorofluorocarbons, or “CFCs”. Friday night in Kigali, negotiators from 197 countries agreed to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down super potent greenhouse gas emissions known as hydrofluorocarbons or “HFCs.” What is being dubbed as the Kigali Amendment, calls for developed countries including the US and EU to start to phase down HFCs by 2019 and a group of developing countries such as China, Brazil and most of Africa to follow with a freeze of HFCs consumption levels in 2024, and India, Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait in 2028.
Vincent Biruta, Ministerof Natural Resources of Rwanda and President of MOP28 thanked delegates for “making history together in Rwanda by passing the ambitious Kigali Amendment. “
HFCs are estimated to have a thousand times more heat trapping potency than CO2 and are commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning. With global temperatures rising, increasing populations and higher rates of urbanization there is a growing demand for air-conditioning and the use of high-emitting coolants. It is expected that the measures of the Kigali Amendment will help prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of the century. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol also sends a powerful market signal to unlock investments in green tech innovation. The Parties to the amendment agreed to provide financing for HFCs reduction, with an exact amount to be determined at their next meeting in 2017.
According to Erik Solheim, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) the Kigali Agreement is “a clear statement by world leaders that the green transformation started in Paris is irreversible and unstoppable. It shows the best investments are those in clean, efficient technologies.”
The historic Paris Agreement adopted last December and set to enter into force on November 4, the new ICAO global market-based measure reached on October 6 to curb international aviation CO2 emissions and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol represent clear commitments from the international community to strengthen climate action ahead of COP22 in Marrakech.
Morocco’s Environment Minister and High-Level Climate Champion, Hakima El Haite was in Kigali advocating for the amendment as part of the “high ambition coalition” made up of Pacific Island, African and Caribbean governments, US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and EU member states. She summed up the historic agreement by saying, “the march towards Marrakech began today in Kigali.”