Specifically, the Kigali Amendment pushes developed countries to air conditioners by 2036a>, 85% reduction in the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in refrigerators and fire extinguishers.The Kigali Amendment focused on reducing the use of ozone-depleting substances, known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which were commonly used as refrigerants at the time.
HFCs eventually replaced CFCs and HCFCs.Unfortunately, HFCs are still not good for the environment.They are considered "super" potent greenhouse gases, hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide in heating the Earth.To ratify the amendment, the U.S. needs a vote of at least two-thirds of the members of the Senate.That finally happened on Wednesday afternoon local time, when the Senate approved the Kigali Amendment by a vote of 69 to 27.This makes the United States the 138th country to ratify the amendment.
Although it took the U.S. years to formally join, the Biden administration has moved to phase out HFCs as part of its efforts to limit climate change and boost domestic manufacturing.The stimulus bill passed in 2020 includes provisions that essentially push the U.S. toward the goals of the Kigali Amendment.It tasked the EPA with creating rules to reduce HFC production and consumption by 85 percent within 15 years.
There are alternative refrigerants that don't cause the same environmental problems, and U.S. lawmakers predict that the new mandate to reduce HFCs will create 150,000 jobs, while inGenerate nearly $39 billion in economic benefits over seven years.Consumers probably won't notice much of a difference, as the rule doesn't completely eliminate HFCs, nor does it require consumers to get rid of their old appliances.New appliances with different refrigerants will often look and function the same as old appliances.
But phasing out HFCs will bring meaningful change to the planet.With the U.S. commitment, worldwide compliance with the Kigali Amendment is expected to prevent further global warming of 0.5 degrees Celsius.The planet has warmed by a little over 1 degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution, which has sparked more destructive storms, wildfires and heat waves, among other things.So every bit of warming we can prevent will be critical to prevent these crises from becoming more unbearable.