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China to Accept Kigali Amendment on HFCs and Strengthen Action on Other Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases


16 April 2021— Today in a virtual summit with President Macron of France and Chancellor Merkel of Germany, Chinese President Xi Jinping announced China will accept the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

In his remarks, President Xi also mentioned China’s intention to strengthen the control of non-CO2 greenhouse gases, including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are scheduled for phasedown under the Kigali Amendment.

China’s efforts on ratification of the Kigali Amendment and in promoting the continuing evolution of the Montreal Protocol include commitments made through various bilateral agreements between President Xi and President Macron since early 2019. These include the Joint Declaration between the French Republic and the People’s Republic of China on the Preservation of Multilateralism and Improvement of Global Governance (March 2019), where the leaders committed to “work together to promote the ratification and implementation of the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol on the phasedown of HFCs” (English translation here) and on the Beijing Call for Biodiversity Conservation and Climate Change (November 2019), which called on all countries to “ratify, as soon as possible, and implement the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol,… and undertake action to improve energy efficiency in the cooling sector globally.”

“Since 2017 President Macron has stepped up to fill the leadership void on climate, including through his efforts with President Xi on HFCs and the other non-CO2 pollutants,” said Durwood Zaelke, founder and President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development. “These efforts are paying off yet again and signal significant progress in the lead up to President Biden’s Earth Day Leaders’ Summit on Climate”.

This is a positive signal on China’s action to address non-CO2 GHGs, such as methane, HFCs, and PFCs, as indicated in China’s Outline of the 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-2025) for National Economic and Social Development and the Long-Range Objectives Through the Year 2035, released 11 March 2021.

Mitigation of non-CO2 super climate pollutants—particularly methane, HFCs, black carbon, and tropospheric ozone—combined with mitigation and CO2 and promotion of nature-based solutions such as protection of carbon sinks, provide three of the most effective strategies to help limit temperature increases to 1.5°C. These strategies reduce the likelihood that we will trigger catastrophic climate impacts that can put mid-century carbon neutrality goals out of reach.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, agreed by the Parties in October 2016, represents the single biggest piece of climate mitigation to date. A fast HFC phasedown can avoid up to 0.5°C of future warming by 2100. Beyond phasing down HFCs, 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.

To date, 119 countries have ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Earlier this year, in January 2021, President Biden directed the State Department to prepare a transmittal package to the Senate to seek their advice and consent to ratify the Kigali Amendment.