US Senate ratifies Kigali Amendment

The US lawmakers recently voted to ratify the Kigali Amendment, making this the first time in 30 years for the US to adopt an international climate treaty.

Key facts

  • The US Senate voted ratify the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol climate treaty and phase down the use and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are popular chemicals used in air conditioning and refrigeration.
  • The HFCs are thousand times more capable of trapping heat than carbon dioxide. Their emissions are thus worsening the global warming.
  • Phasing out of these chemicals can prevent global temperature increasing by 0.5°C.
  • The US had witnessed a spike in the emission from HFCs between 2018 and 2019 because of the increased demand for air conditioning and refrigeration amid the record rise in the temperatures in the country.
  • In 2020, the Congress passed the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act to allow the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate the HFCs and stop their production and imports by 85 per cent over 15 years.
  • Currently, more than a dozen states have either banned or restricted HFCs.
  • With these laws enacted and businesses already looking for alternative green technologies, the recent ratification makes little changes in the country.
  • However, under this treaty, if nations do not ratify the Kigali Amendment, they will have restricted access to international markets from 2033. This secures the US’ businesses in the future.
  • The ratification gives American-made products more access to global market and enables the federal government to prevent illegal Chinese dumping of HFCs in the United States.
  • The US now joins 136 other nations and the European Union in ratifying the amendment.

About Kigali Amendment

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is a legally binding international pact that aims to gradually phase out the consumption and production of HFCs. It is designed to create rights and obligations under the international law. Under this amendment, developed countries like the US and EU must reduce the production and consumption of HFCs to about 15 per cent of the 2012 levels by 2036. Majority of other countries like China, Brazil and all of Africa must halt the HFC use by 2024, reducing it to 20 per cent of 2021 levels by 2045. A small group of world’s hottest countries like India, Pakistan, Bahrain, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait must stop using HFCs by 2028 and reduce it to about 15 per cent of 2025 levels by 2047.

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