Senate passes Kigali amendment to limit HFCs

With broad bipartisan support, the Senate on Wednesday ratified by 69 to 27 a global treaty that would severely limit emissions of the super pollutants that frequently seep out of air conditioners and other types of refrigeration.

Treaty – known as Kigali Edit The 1987 Montreal Protocol forces countries to phase out the use of potent hydrofluorocarbons, which are hundreds to thousands of times as powerful as carbon dioxide in accelerating climate change.

The US became the 137th country to ratify the amendment – and negotiators said the move would encourage the remaining states to follow suit. The previous Montreal Protocol had restricted the production of ozone-depleting substances.

US climate envoy John F. Kerry, who was in the Rwandan capital Kigali when the amendment was negotiated, said the Senate vote “has been a decade in the making and a profound victory for the American climate and economy.”

The treaty, which had to have the support of at least two-thirds of the Senate, brought together an extraordinary coalition of supporters including the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers as well as the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“Companies support it because it drives American exports. Climate advocates have argued that it would avoid up to half a degree of global warming by the end of the century; world leaders have backed it because it ensures strong international cooperation,” Kerry said in a statement.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E.

He said the treaty would “reduce global temperatures by about half a degree Celsius by the end of this century, little to say about the very impactful facts”. This reduction equals about 1 degree Fahrenheit.

He described it as a “win-win in our fight against climate change”.

Dorwood Zelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said the certification demonstrated “President Biden’s continued climate leadership, and appreciation of the need for speed to slow near-term warming, avoid climate tipping points and slow self-reinforcement.” Feedbacks. “

Sentiment in support of ratification has increased in recent years.

The Senate, with Senator John Neely Kennedy (R-LA) was the lead sponsor, during the 2020 lame-duck session It passed the US Innovation and Manufacturing Act, which authorized the Environmental Protection Agency to implement most of the regulations that would be required under certification. Kennedy is home to the Mexico Fluor and Honeywell facilities that manufacture the chemicals.

Most US air conditioner makers were already pushing for the treaty to be adopted in the name of American jobs and competitiveness.

“The Senate notes that Kigali is reckoning for the jobs it will create; for the global competitive advantage it creates; and the additional exports that will result from it, and this is significant to the technological advantage of the United States,” said Stephen Urrick, president of the Institute of Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration. US manufacturers already supply 75 percent of the world’s air conditioning equipment and global demand is “on the rise”.

However, several senators opposed the measure. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo) said domestic legislation is appropriate. “We did it here, we did it right. There is no need to get bogged down in another UN treaty.

Paraso also complained that “this treaty is particularly bad because it doubles down on the practice of treating China as a developing country.” Like all other developing countries, under the treaty, China gets a grace period before it has to cut HFCs.

Americans for Prosperity, with the support of the Koch family, sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to vote “no” on the Kigali Amendment, warning that the vote could be included in the organization’s annual legislative scorecard. The letter said the treaty would “impose expensive restrictions, and serve as a consumer tax on air conditioning and refrigeration, on the American people and give an unfair advantage to China and other industrial competitors to the United States.”

Other Republicans opposed the treaty. Three Senators – James M. Inhoeve (Ukla), Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Kentucky) — they joined Baraso in suspending the Kigali Amendment in an effort to block the vote, according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the reservations weren’t public.

But Senator Thomas R. Carper (D-Dell), who had teamed up with Kennedy and whose state was the least lying in the country, said that “it’s not every day you have full court press from the business community and they join in full court press from the environmental community.”

US manufacturers have been “innovative, so this strengthens the US role in promoting solutions and boosts the US economy, as well as being a huge climate benefit,” said Dan Lachoff, director of the World Resources Institute.

Maxine Gosselo contributed to this report.

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