Home » Press Releases » Vice President Biden Keeps HFCs at Top of US Geo-Political Agenda During India Visit

Vice President Biden Keeps HFCs at Top of US Geo-Political Agenda During India Visit


Montreal Protocol HFC amendment presents biggest near-term mitigation opportunity

Avoids 0.5°C of warming by end of century

Washington, DC 25 July 2013 - During his visit to India this week Vice President Joe Biden continued the Administration’s full court press on the HFC amendment under the Montreal Protocol, originally proposed by the US, Canada, and Mexico, and separately by the Federated States of Micronesia, Morocco, and the Maldives. President Obama made phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol a central part of his Climate Action Plan announced 25 June, and reached an agreement with China President Xi to phase down HFCs using the Montreal Protocol at their Rancho Mirage summit 8 June.

Following a meeting with Prime Minister Singh, Vice President Biden gave a speech at the Bombay Stock Exchange 24 July about the need for both the US and India to address the problem of climate change. Biden stated, "One thing we can do together right now is address pollutants called hydrofluorocarbons, HFCs."  He added, "Well, HFCs found in air conditioners and other products make an outsized contribution to climate change. I hope that India will join the United States, China and more than 100 other countries to work within the Montreal Protocols to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs."

"When India agrees to the HFC amendment, as China's President Xi did in his summit last month with President Obama, the world will be assured of climate mitigation equivalent to 100 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050—five to ten times more that the Kyoto Protocol has done to date," said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute of Governance & Sustainable Development.  "This will avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century, and significantly slow down climate impacts."

In addition to providing the biggest, fastest, cheapest, and most secure climate mitigation available in the near-term, phasing down HFC under the Montreal Protocol will also provide political momentum for a successful COP 21 in Paris in 2015 when the UNFCC is scheduled to conclude a climate treaty to go into effect by 2020.  "To get this political momentum, it is essential that we wrap up the HFC amendment this year or early next year at an extraordinary meeting," Zaelke said."

Vice President Biden also addressed the importance of phasing down HFCs in his remarks last week on Asia-Pacific policy at George Washington University:  He noted "We just concluded an agreement with China to reduce the use of pollutants called HFCs that cause climate change.  And there’s no reason we cannot do more with India as well.  That’s why Secretary Kerry agreed to an enhanced dialogue with India on climate change just last month. "

Prime Minister Singh is visiting the White House as part of a 6-day visit on 20 September.  He will be in NY for the UN General Assembly first.  The Montreal Protocol Meeting of Parties will is schedule for 21-25 October in Bangkok.

VP Biden's remarks in India are here.

VP Biden's remarks at George Washington University are here.