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U.S. and Brazil Agree to Phase Down HFCs under Montreal Protocol


Presidents Rousseff and Obama agree to “promptly” consider HFC amendment

Washington, DC, 30 June 2015 – President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil and President Barack Obama agreed today to work together to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, stating:

“The Presidents, recognizing the importance of managing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), agreed to work multilaterally in the Montreal Protocol to consider promptly amendment proposals to phase down HFCs.”

This follows the agreements President Obama personally negotiated with President Xi of China to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, and with Prime Minister Modi of India.

“President Obama understands that success with HFCs will be a powerful down payment on the Paris climate deal anticipated in December, and he’s made it a personal priority to finish the HFC amendment this year when the Montreal Protocol parties meet the first week of November,” said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development.

HFCs are used primarily as coolants in air conditioners and are currently the fastest growing climate pollutant in the world.

“A successful HFC amendment will provide the equivalent of 100 to 200 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by mid-century, and avoid up to 0.5C of warming by end of century,” Zaelke added.  “Improvements in energy efficiency of air conditioners, which always occurs when a refrigerant is phased out under the Montreal Protocol, can provide significantly more climate mitigation.  Preliminary calculations by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab show that the efficiency gains can save enough electricity to avoid building up to 1,900 medium-size power plants in the next 15 years.”

Earlier this month under President Obama’s leadership the Group of Seven leaders promised to “continue our efforts to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and call on all Parties to the Montreal Protocol to negotiate an amendment this year to phase down HFCs and on donors to assist developing countries in its implementation.”

The next round of negotiations under the Montreal Protocol are scheduled for late July in Paris. To date, four formal proposal have been submitted to phase down HFCs: by India; the U.S., Canada and Mexico; the EU; and eight pacific Island states led by the Federated States of Micronesia and the Philippines. The Africa Group also has submitted its own draft, and become one of the most forceful champions of the HFC amendment.

“Today’s agreement brings President Rousseff into the group of leaders on the right side of history.  President Obama’s push to eliminate HFCs under the Montreal Protocol this year, joined by President Xi, Prime Minster Modi, and now President Rousseff, will deliver the biggest single piece of climate mitigation in the near term,” said Zaelke.

IGSD’s Primer on HFCs is here.