For several years, the United States has worked tirelessly to find a global solution to phasing down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This super polluting greenhouse gas, used in air conditioners and refrigeration, can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide, and represents a rapidly growing threat to the health of our planet.
Today in Kigali, Rwanda, nearly 200 countries adopted an ambitious and far reaching solution to this looming crisis. Through the Montreal Protocol, a proven forum for solving environmental challenges like protecting the ozone layer, the world community has agreed to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs and avoid up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century – making a significant contribution towards achieving the goals we set in Paris. The plan provides financing to countries in need, so that new air conditioning and refrigeration technology can be available for their citizens. It shows that we can take action to protect our planet in a way that helps all countries improve the lives and livelihoods of their citizens.
Today's agreement caps off a critical ten days in our global efforts to combat climate change. In addition to today’s amendment, countries last week crossed the threshold for the Paris Agreement to enter into force and reached a deal to constrain international aviation emissions. Together, these steps show that, while diplomacy is never easy, we can work together to leave our children a planet that is safer, more prosperous, more secure, and more free than the one that was left for us.