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Kigali Amendments Sealed, Deal on HFC Ban a Historic Milestone

Oct 18, 2016 04:00 AM EDT

After the resounding clamors on cutting down CO2 emisions to save our planet from getting warmer, a global deal between more than 150 countries has agreed to limit hydrofluoro carbons (HFCs) to combat climate change.

Consesus Reached, China to Delay Implementation

Announced last saturday morning in Kigali, Rwanda, the negotiations on cutting down the countries' HFC use finally reached a consensus. Starting 2019, there will be a gradual decrease in the use of the said compound to be led by developed countries including the U.S.

Meanwhile, developing countries as well as China have pledged to start their actions by 2024, which earned a negative reaction due to the delay. Smaller countries including Pakistan, India and several other Gulf states requested for a 2028 kick-off since they need more time to stabilize their economies.

Dangers of HFCs

The HFCs were used in exchange for chlorofluoro carbons (CFCs) due to the latter's effect to Earth's ozone layer. However, it was later found out that HFCs are compounds more potent than CO2 in warming the Earth. Its widespread use has been of interest by nations around the world, especially after the Paris agreement on climate change. If the use of HFCs will not be controlled, the previous accord done in Paris may just become a thing of the past.

Read: Nations to Implement International Ban on HFCs to Minimize Greenhouse Gases

'Monumental Step' to Fight Climate Change

US Secretary John Kerry called the Kigali agreement as a “monumental step forward." On BBCs article, experts have calculated an equivalent of 70 billion tons of CO2 removed from the atmosphere by 2050 if the agreement will really materialize.

"HFCs posed an immediate threat to a safe climate due to their increasing use and high global warming potential, thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. By agreeing to an early HFC phase down schedule, we've bought ourselves a bit more time to shift to a global low carbon economy and protect the world's most vulnerable people," Benson Eri, Senior Policy Advisor of Christian Aid mentioned.

"Agreeing a deal to phase down the use of HFCs is the single most important step we can take to limit the warming of the planet. We all know that the window of time that we have to prevent the worst climate impacts from happening is in fact narrowing, and it is closing fast,” Kerry stated as quoted in TheGuardian.

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