Biden Calls on Congress to Ratify Super Pollutant Gas Reduction Treaty
Steph Deschamps / November 17, 2021
U.S. President Joe Biden on Tuesday called on the U.S. Congress to ratify an amendment to an international treaty aimed at sharply reducing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that are extremely harmful to the climate.
The Democrat urged the Senate to support ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, signed by 124 countries and which calls for the phase-out of HFCs. Used in refrigeration, air conditioning, some aerosols and the manufacture of insulating foam, HFCs are potent greenhouse gases.
The United States played a central role in drafting the amendment, which calls on states to reduce HFCs by 85% by 2036 - a goal that has been pushed back by a few years for other countries. If the agreement is respected, it could reduce global warming by 0.5°C by 2100, according to experts. But Washington has not ratified it after a backlash from former President Donald Trump's administration over U.S. rules to reduce the use of such chemicals. U.S. ratification would advance U.S. interests by (allowing) it to remain at the forefront of developing and deploying alternatives to HFCs, ensuring access to rapidly growing refrigeration and cooling markets abroad, and stimulating U.S. investment, exports, and job growth in this sector, Biden argued in his letter to the Senate. Hydrofluorocarbons have been used since the 1990s as a replacement for CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), which are primarily responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer and were therefore banned under the Montreal Protocol.