KIGALI MEETING AGREES TO WORLDWIDE PHASEOUT OF "SUPER WARMING" HFCs
One hundred and seventy countries recently passed the Kigali Amendment, a legally binding Amendment to the Montreal Protocol that will phase out hydrofluorocarbon gases (HFCs), low-cost refrigerants frequently used in air conditioners and refrigerators. HFCs are “super greenhouse gases” that are 1,000 times more effective at trapping heat than carbon dioxide; scientists estimate that they would contribute to almost a full degree Fahrenheit of atmospheric warming, despite being only a small percentage of total greenhouse gases. The deal will phase out the use of HFCs in air conditioners and refrigerators with developed countries immediately implementing measures to reach an 85% reduction by 2036 and developing countries capping their emissions by 2028. However, the United Nations anticipates that implementing the agreement will cost billions of dollars. Additionally, some have expressed concern that switching to more expensive refrigerants will make it more difficult for people in developing countries to cool their homes and preserve perishable foods and medications, a problem that will be exacerbated as temperatures rise. For the full story, see http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/half-a-degree-avoided-breakthrough-in-talks-to-limit-global-warming-20161015-gs3686.html and https://news.mongabay.com/2016/10/climate-deal-struck-to-curb-super-greenhouse-gases/. For more information on how this agreement will impact developing countries, see http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/13/world/asia/india-air-conditioning.html?_r=0.