Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

COP21 Leaders Event: President Obama Reminds World of Progress via Montreal

November 30, 2015

President Obama reminded the world of the success of the Montreal Protocol, an international climate agreement that continues to provide bold mitigation, at the Leaders Event opening of COP21.  “Earlier this month in Dubai, after years of delay, the world agreed to work together to cut the super-pollutants known as HFCs.  That’s progress.”

At the beginning of November, Parties to the Montreal Protocol agreed to work together in 2016 to eliminate HFCs, one of the six main greenhouse gases.  The Parties will use the treaty that has already successfully phased out nearly 100 chemicals that were damaging the stratospheric ozone layer.  

“President Obama reminded us that the climate keeps changing and in many ways faster than our efforts are to address it,” said IGSD President, Durwood Zaelke.  “Cutting short-lived climate pollutants like HFCs can provide us the near-term mitigation needed to avoid dangerous climate impacts like sea-level rise.”

The HFC agreement will eliminate warming from one of the six main greenhouse gases, the single biggest piece of mitigaiton available in the near-term. This will avoid up to 0.5C of warming by the end of the century, and avoid the equivalent of up to 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2050.

Parallel improvements in the efficiency of the air conditioners that were using HFCs as refrigerants can avoid another 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2050, according to recent report by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Our two-page HFC Fact Sheet is available here; a more expansive discussion is in our our Primer on HFCs.

For more COP21 updates follow IGSD_DC on Twitter.