THE PINK DOLPHIN: More than 150 countries reach ‘monumental’ deal to phase out powerful greenhouse gases

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More than 150 countries reach ‘monumental’ deal to phase out powerful greenhouse gases

Campaigners say the new agreement is ‘equal to stopping the entire world’s fossil fuel CO2 emissions for more than two years’

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US Secretary of State John Kerry delivers a keynote address at the meeting promoting US climate and environmental goals AP

A deal has been reached by more than 150 countries to limit the use of harmful greenhouse gases in what the UN called the largest breakthrough since the Paris climate change agreement.

Delegates met in Rwanda for talks on hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs – gases used in air conditioners and refrigerators that are far more potent than carbon dioxide.

The new agreement is “equal to stopping the entire world’s fossil fuel CO2 emissions for more than two years”, said David Doniger, a director at the Natural Resources Defence Council, an environmental advocacy group based in the United States.

The deal to cap and reduce the use of HFCs – described as the world’s fastest-growing climate pollutant – was announced on Saturday morning following a night of negotiations.

A gradual process beginning in 2019 has been agreed with action by developed countries including the United States, the world’s second worst carbon dioxide emitter after China.

John Kerry, US Secretary of State, who took part in meetings in the capital city Kigali, said the deal was a “monumental step forward.”

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Air conditioning units on an apartment block in Hong Kong (Getty Images / iStockphoto)

More than 100 developing countries, including China, will start taking action by 2024.

A small group of countries including India, Pakistan and some Gulf states, pushed for and secured an even later start in 2028, saying their economies need more time to grow.

Environmental groups had hoped that the deal could reduce global warming by half a degree Celsius before the end of this century.

This agreement gets about 90 per cent of the way there, said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.

Mr Zaelke’s US based campaign group said this is the “largest temperature reduction ever achieved by a single agreement”.

“History is made. Montreal Protocol countries agree to curb powerful greenhouse gases in largest climate breakthrough since Paris,” tweeted the UN Environment Programme.

HFCs are less abundant than carbon dioxide, but Mr Kerry said last month that they currently emit as much pollution as 300 coal-fired power plants each year.

That amount will rise significantly over the coming decades as sales of air conditioner and refrigerator sales soar in emerging economies like China and India.

Source: Independent

selva.png?w=180&h=174Editorial CommitteeDavid Dunham

Arno Ambrosius

Gustavo López Ospina

Mariana Almeida

Pieter Jan Brouwer

Assistant: Emilia Romero

SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Pink Dolphin” were taken by Mr. Schafer.

~ by SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras on 21 October, 2016.

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