cloudyn.png
Monday October 3rd, 2022 8:25PM

Senate ratifies international climate deal on refrigerants

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a major action to address climate change, the Senate on Wednesday ratified an international agreement that compels the United States and other countries to limit use of hydrofluorocarbons, highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning that are far more powerful than carbon dioxide.

The so-called Kigali Amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on ozone pollution requires participating nations to phase down production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, also known as HFCs, by 85% over the next 14 years, as part of a global phaseout intended to slow climate change.

The Senate approved the treaty, 69-27, above the two-thirds margin required for ratification.

HFCs are considered a major driver of global warming and are being targeted worldwide. Nearly 200 nations reached a deal in 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda, to limit HFCs and find substitutes more friendly to the atmosphere. More than 130 nations, including China, India and Russia, have formally ratified the agreement, which scientists say could help the world avoid a half-degree Celsius of global warming.

President Joe Biden pledged to embrace the Kigali deal during the 2020 presidential campaign and submitted the agreement to the Senate last year, months after the Environmental Protection Agency issued a rule limiting U.S. production and use of HFCs in line with Kigali. The EPA rule, in turn, followed a 2020 law passed by Congress authorizing a 15-year phaseout of HFCs in the U.S.

Biden called the Senate vote “a historic, bipartisan win for American workers and industry" and said it would allow the U.S. “to lead the clean technology markets of the future” while advancing global efforts to combat climate change.

The president's climate envoy, former Secretary of State John Kerry, said the agreement will drive American exports, avoid up to half-degree of global warming and ensure strong international cooperation.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the Kigali vote, along with passage of a major climate law last month, "the strongest one-two punch against climate change any Congress has ever taken.''

Ratification of the treaty not only "will protect our planet,'' it also will provide "a golden opportunity to help American businesses dominate in an emerging (global) business'' of refrigerants that do not rely on HFCs, said Schumer, D-N.Y..

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and other Republicans opposed the treaty, saying it would give China preferential treatment by designating it as a developing country.

“Under this treaty, China would get an extra decade to produce HFCs,'' placing the United States at a competitive disadvantage to China, Barrasso said. “There is no excuse for any senator to give China a handout at the expense of the American taxpayer.''

The Senate approved a largely symbolic amendment by GOP Sens. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Mike Lee of Utah declaring that China is not a developing country and should not be treated as such by the United Nations or other intergovernmental organizations.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce was among those urging approval, calling the amendment "a win for the economy and the environment.''

Senate ratification “would enhance the competitiveness of U.S. manufacturers working to develop alternative technologies, and level the global economic playing field,'' the group said in a letter to the Senate.

Ratification of the amendment “would continue the important, bipartisan action Congress took in 2020 with passage of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, which phased out domestic HFC manufacturing,'' said Jack Howard, the chamber's senior vice president for government affairs.

Chris Jahn, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council, an industry group, called the amendment a “tremendous market opportunity for our members to take advantage of game-changing technologies” that allow refrigeration in a more environmentally responsible manner than HFCs.

“”This is one of those truly rare things you get in the policy world where it is a win-win" for the environment and business, he said in an interview.

Every year, millions of refrigerators and air conditioning units are sold around the world, and U.S. businesses are prepared to meet that demand, Jahn said, citing growing markets in Asia, South America and Europe.

David Doniger, a senior climate and clean energy official with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the Kigali Amendment builds on the the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which he called “the world’s most successful environmental treaty.″ He said “the ozone is on the mend because the world took action to eliminate″ chlorofluorocarbons, also known as CFCs, and other ozone-destroying chemicals, Doniger said.

The next logical step is to replace HFCs with safer, commercially available alternatives, Doniger said.

Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said ratification of the Kigali Amendment would "unleash billions of dollars in U.S. economic benefits and create some 150,000 American jobs by 2027.”

Carper and Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., pushed for the 2020 law phasing out HFCs, saying it would give U.S. companies the regulatory certainty needed to produce alternative coolants. Both men represent states that are home to chemical companies that produce the alternative refrigerants.

___

Follow AP's coverage of the climate and environment at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Senate ratifies international climate deal on refrigerants
The Senate has taken major action to address climate change by ratifying an international agreement that compels the United States and other countries to limit use of hydrofluorocarbons
4:12PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Russian separatists release 10, including 2 US veterans
Relatives say two U.S. military veterans who went missing while fighting Russia with Ukrainian forces have been released after about three months in captivity
4:09PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Federer's farewell to be in doubles; comeback? 'No, no, no'
Roger Federer says he is at peace with his choice to retire from professional tennis and plans to close his career with one doubles match at the Laver Cup perhaps with longtime rival Rafael Nadal by his side
4:08PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Biden: Russia 'shamelessly violated' UN Charter in Ukraine
President Joe Biden has declared that Russia has “shamelessly violated the core tenets” of the United Nations charter with its “brutal, needless war” in Ukraine
2:59PM ( 1 hour ago )
Influx of migrants from GOP-led states tests Dem strongholds
There are few places in the U.S. with a more deeply ingrained reputation as a refuge for immigrants than New York City
2:38PM ( 1 hour ago )
Bank CEOs warn of 'daunting' challenges from inflation
In what has become an annual ritual, the CEOs of the major U.S. banks are appearing in front of Congress to sell themselves as shepherds of a helpful industry at a time of financial and economic distress for many Americans
2:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
European spyware investigators criticize Israel and Poland
European Parliament members investigating the use of surveillance spyware by European Union governments have sharply criticized Israel
9:49AM ( 6 hours ago )
Trial opens for QAnon follower who chased officer at Capitol
A trial is underway for an Iowa man whose confrontation with police created some of the most memorable images from a mob's attack on the U.S. Capitol
8:47PM ( 19 hours ago )
Arbiter in Trump docs probe signals intent to move quickly
The independent arbiter tasked with inspecting documents seized in an FBI search of former President Donald Trump’s Florida home says he intends to push briskly through the review process
8:32PM ( 19 hours ago )
AP Online Congress News
Puerto Ricans desperate for water after Fiona's rampage
More than half a million people in Puerto Rico remain without water service three days after after Hurricane Fiona slammed the U.S. territory
3:32PM ( 51 minutes ago )
Trump accused of vast fraud in suit by NY attorney general
New York’s attorney general has sued former President Donald Trump and his company, alleging business fraud involving some of their most prized assets, including properties in Manhattan, Chicago and Washington, D
3:28PM ( 55 minutes ago )
Putin orders partial military call-up, sparking protests
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia, effective immediately
3:24PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Business
Walmart takes a cautious approach to holiday hiring
Walmart is taking a cautious approach to the holiday shopping season, announcing it will hire 40,000 U.S. workers for the holidays, a majority of them seasonal workers
1:47PM ( 2 hours ago )
US gas prices tick up, ending 99-day streak of lower costs
After 99 consecutive days of declining gasoline prices, the cost for a gallon has edged a penny higher
1:26PM ( 2 hours ago )
South Africa in electricity crisis, nationwide blackouts
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has an urgent meeting scheduled with his Cabinet to discuss an electricity crisis which has led to unprecedented levels of nationwide power blackouts
12:47PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Russian separatists release 10, including 2 US veterans
Relatives say two U.S. military veterans who went missing while fighting Russia with Ukrainian forces have been released after about three months in captivity
4:09PM ( 14 minutes ago )
Federer's farewell to be in doubles; comeback? 'No, no, no'
Roger Federer says he is at peace with his choice to retire from professional tennis and plans to close his career with one doubles match at the Laver Cup perhaps with longtime rival Rafael Nadal by his side
4:08PM ( 15 minutes ago )
Ex-cop Lane gets 3 years for role in George Floyd's death
A former Minneapolis police officer who pleaded guilty to a state charge of aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd has been sentenced to three years
3:59PM ( 25 minutes ago )
Cornered by war, Putin makes another nuclear threat
President Vladimir Putin says he won’t hesitate to use nuclear weapons to protect Russian territory, a threat that comes as Moscow is poised to annex swaths of Ukraine that Moscow has taken over after hastily called referendums there
3:53PM ( 31 minutes ago )
Meneses' 8th-inning HR snaps Braves' 5-game winning streak
Joey Meneses hit a go-ahead, two-run homer off Jesse Chavez in the seventh inning, and the Washington Nationals stopped the Atlanta Braves’ five-game winning streak with a 3-2 victory
3:52PM ( 31 minutes ago )