KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct. 15, 2016 – Today the world took another big step towards meeting international climate change goals by agreeing to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide, used extensively for air-conditioning and refrigeration.
Meeting in Kigali today, more than 200 countries adopted an amendment to the 1987 ozone-saving Montreal Protocol to phase-down HFCs.
The legally binding deal will cut back on greenhouse gases used in refrigerators and air conditioners, a major move against climate change.
The Montreal Protocol has been one of the most successful international agreements, leading to the phase out of 95 percent of ozone-depleting substances.
“Canada played a key role negotiating the Montreal Protocol in 1987 and in negotiating the Paris Agreement in 2015. Today, in Kigali, Canada and the world have taken another very important step in the global fight against climate change by agreeing to phase down HFCs,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change
HFCs are used globally in refrigerators, air-conditioners, foam products, and other items and, today, global HFC emissions are the equivalent of approximately 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. That is the same as emissions from nearly 300 coal-fired power plants or over 200 million passenger vehicles driven for one year, and is expected to grow nearly five-fold by 2050 if no action is taken.
Switching from HFCs to more climate-friendly alternatives is predicted to avoid up to half a degree of global warming by the end of century.
Canada will continue to play a leadership role in implementing the Montreal Protocol, including the HFC amendment, by hosting the 29th Meeting of the Parties, which marks the Montreal Protocol’s 30th anniversary.
- HFCs account for less than 2 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Left unchecked, that figure could rise to more than 10 percent by 2050.
- HFCs are the fastest growing GHGs in the world, increasing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year. This increase is largely a result of the growing global demand for refrigeration and air conditioning.
- Replacing HFCs with climate-friendly refrigerants and technologies can improve energy efficiency by up to 50 percent and can significantly reduce energy costs for consumers and businesses.
- The Government of Canada will propose regulations to significantly reduce HFC consumption and prohibit the manufacture and import into Canada of certain products containing HFCs.
- It has also introduced measures to increase the recovery, recycling, and destruction of HFCs in refrigeration and air‑conditioning equipment and established regulatory provisions for an HFC-reporting system.