US Ratifies Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol

26.10.2022 - The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced additional actions to phase down the use of ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), lending a boost to president Joe Biden’s agenda for combating climate change.

The aim is to reduce consumption of the chemicals by of 40% against “historic levels, starting in 2024, which Washington can only achieve because of the bipartisan consensus of the US Congress to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

The Senate vote took place on Sept. 212 and is said to have marked the first time the US had ratified an international agreement in over 30 years.

Ratification will spur the growth of manufacturing jobs while strengthening US competitiveness and advancing the global effort to combat the climate crisis, the EPA asserted.

The environmental watchdog calculates that this will translate into a $4.8 billion annual increase in US exports and $12.5 billion annually in increased economic output.

Specifically, the international program calls for phasing down global production and consumption of HFCs as refrigerants, whereby the EPA said US companies are “already leading on innovation and manufacturing of alternatives.”

 After four lost years, when the administration of former president Donald Trump exited international agreements and torpedoed previous administrations’ climate rules, the EPA said “the United States is back at the table leading the fight against climate change.”

If the Kigali pact is successfully implemented worldwide, scientists estimate it would prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the end of this century.

In any case, the US appears to be on track to meet its targets as Congress and the Biden administration have already enacted policies to reduce production and importation of hydrofluorocarbons in the US by 85% over the next 15 years.

In the decades since HFCs and before them CFCs were identified as ozone depleting, industry in the US and Europe has developed alternative substances. For the US, reports said, the ratification initially advanced by the administration of president Barack Obama but stalled under Trump carries symbolic weight.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist