|Statement from EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, November 5, 2015
On November 5, 2015, countries across the world took the historic step to work together on a 2016 Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that can be up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change. A 2016 amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs will achieve substantial greenhouse gas reductions and could avoid up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100.
Reaching agreement on this decision by the Parties will pave the way to help all countries transition to alternatives and away from HFCs. It is a significant accomplishment for climate action on the road to the Paris Climate Conference later this month and sends a strong signal that the international community can come together to confront some of the world’s greatest environmental challenges and continue progress toward cutting global greenhouse gas emissions.
The decision charts a course for additional high-level dialogue to reach consensus on setting a timeframe for freezing and ultimately phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs.
The Montreal Protocol is viewed as the most successful international environmental treaty. It has resulted in a 97% reduction in the production and import of ozone depleting substances, which scientists predict will heal the ozone layer by 2050. HFCs were originally one of the substances that the world shifted toward when ozone depleting substances were phased out. Over the last decade, the global community has learned that, while these substances have been effective in protecting the ozone layer, the shift to production and consumption of HFCs does increase the use of potent greenhouse gases that are harmful to the climate system.
To read an article on the topic visit here.