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Nearly 200 Nations Reach Landmark Deal to Cut Super Polluting HFCs

Climate
Nearly 200 Nations Reach Landmark Deal to Cut Super Polluting HFCs

More than 170 countries reached a deal to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), powerful greenhouse gases used in air-conditioners and refrigerators.

Under the new amendment to the Montreal Protocol, developed countries will begin phasing down HFCs in 2019, while developing countries have two different timelines. More than 100 countries will start their HFC phase down in 2024, and a handful of countries, including India, Pakistan and some Gulf states, will start in 2028.

"This is great news for the climate. It sends a powerful signal that our governments are serious about tackling climate change, coming as it does on the heels of the ratification of the Paris Agreement, a new deal to cap aviation emissions and just weeks before UN climate talks resume," Regine Guenther, interim leader of WWF's Global Climate and Energy Practice, said. "Our path to action is clear and we now need to see the promises of these agreements realized in urgent actions on the ground."

This amendment is the "largest temperature reduction ever achieved by a single agreement" and could avoid nearly 0.5 C of global warming.

"This is a major breakthrough: The world has come together to curb climate-wrecking super-pollutant HFCs," David Doniger, NRDC's Climate and Clean Air program director, said. "This is the biggest step we can take in the year after the Paris agreement against the widening threats from climate change. And bringing HFCs under the Montreal Protocol sends a clear signal to the global marketplace to start replacing these dangerous chemicals with a new generation of climate-friendly and energy-efficient alternatives."

For a deeper dive:

Agreement: New York Times, Guardian, Reuters, Washington Post, The Hill, BBC, AP, Financial Times, LA Times, Climate Home, NPR, VICE News, CNN

Industry: Reuters, New York Times, Wall Street Journal

Commentary: Kigali New Times editorial; Guardian, John Vidal column; Reuters, Alister Doyle analysis; Mashable, Andrew Freedman analysis; Vox, Brad Plumer column; Wall Street Journal, Daniela Hernandez analysis; The Nation editorial

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