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President Biden to Submit Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol for Senate Ratification


Reducing HFCs could avoid up to 0.5°C of future warming

Climate benefits could double with parallel improvements in energy efficiency

Washington, DC, 27 January 2021- In a major climate push, President Biden today signed multiple science- and environment-focused executive orders, among them an order taking steps to put climate change at the center of U.S. foreign policy. The President also directed the State Department to prepare a transmittal package to the Senate to seek their advice and consent to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down super climate pollutants called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) (Sec.102. j.).

Speaking at the White House Press Conference this afternoon, Presidential Climate Envoy John Kerry stated that the Kigali Amendment “by itself, if ratified and fully enforced globally, could hold the Earth’s temperature by 0.5°C ….”

Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, said:

“It’s the right time for the Senate to exercise its Constitutional duty to provide advice and consent to ratify the Kigali Amendment to phasedown HFC refrigerants.”

“President Biden knows the Senate better than any president before him, and will be using the advice and consent process to build bipartisan support for this and future climate action, which the American people are demanding.”

“U.S. ratification will build on the strong bipartisan support for the December legislation that put the U.S. on the same phasedown schedule as the Kigali Amendment, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act.

“U.S. ratification also sets the stage for President Biden and his Climate Envoy John Kerry to work with French President Macron to encourage China and India to also ratify.”

“This is another indication that President Biden and his climate team appreciate the need for speed to address the climate emergency and the critical role played by cutting the HFCs and the other short-lived climate pollutants (black carbon, methane, and tropospheric ozone)—the only strategy we know that can slow warming in the next 20 years.”

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was agreed by the Parties in October 2016, and represents the single biggest piece of climate mitigation to date, with the potential to avoid up to 0.5°C of future warming. Beyond phasing down HFCs, which are primarily used as refrigerants, improving the energy efficiency of cooling equipment has the potential to at least double the climate benefits of the Kigali Amendment in the near-term.

A 2018 industry report forecast that phasing down HFCs in the U.S. will also increase exports, create 150,000 more American jobs, generate billions in new investment, and save American consumers $3.7 billion over 15 years.

To date, the Amendment has been ratified by 113 Parties.

The administration also announced details for the U.S.-hosted Climate Leaders' Summit (April 2021), a moratorium on new oil and gas leasing on federal lands, plans to protect 30 percent of federal land and water by 2030, and other new policies to protect the climate, promote climate justice and create jobs.

NOTE: The Montreal Protocol was first signed and ratified by President Reagan in 1987 and today is widely regarded as the most successful global environmental treaty.

Over its 33 years of operation, the Montreal Protocol has phased down nearly 100 chemicals that damage the stratospheric ozone layer by nearly 100% and put the protective ozone layer on the path to recovery by 2065.

Because the chemicals, including CFCs and HCFCs, also warm the planet, the Montreal Protocol, together with earlier consumer boycotts and related national measures to control these chemicals, has avoided warming that otherwise would have equaled or exceeded the warming carbon dioxide is causing today, which is about 60% of global warming.

Although they do not destroy the ozone layer, HFCs also are powerful climate pollutants, part of the short-lived climate pollutants which include methane, tropospheric ozone, and black carbon soot.

Cutting the short-lived climate pollutants in the next decade can cut the rate of climate warming by half, a critical strategy for keeping the planet safe as countries pursue the goals of net-zero climate emissions by 2050.


(j)  The Secretary of State shall prepare, within 60 days of the date of this order, a transmittal package seeking the Senate’s advice and consent to ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, regarding the phasedown of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons.