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Biden Sends Climate Amendment to Senate

The Biden administration has sent the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for approval, according to The Washington Post (subscription).

What it is: The agreement, a 2016 modification to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, aims to gradually phase out hydrofluorocarbons, potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

  • “Democrats and Republicans alike rallied around an agreement a year ago to slash use of these potent greenhouse gases, making it possible for the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate them. The EPA finalized a rule in September that will ensure the United States meets the targets outlined in the international agreement.”

Why it matters: More than 120 countries are party to the Kigali Amendment, which President Biden had previously promised to prepare for a vote in the Senate.

  • The move follows the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, where nearly 200 countries made a deal to urge nations to strengthen their climate commitments.
  • President Biden has promised the U.S. will cut greenhouse gas emissions by 50–52% from 2005 levels by 2030, according to Reuters.

“Win, win, win”: David Doniger, senior strategic director in the climate and clean energy program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the amendment “a win, win, win” for workers, companies and the planet.

  • “Phasing down these harmful chemicals will create good-paying jobs and open export markets for manufacturers of new and safer products, while curbing a potent contributor to climate change,” he said.

The White House’s take: “Ratification will also ensure the United States continues to have a full voice to represent U.S. economic and environmental interests as implementation of the Kigali Amendment moves forward in coming years,” Biden said in a message to the Senate, according to Reuters.

The NAM says: “Manufacturers thank President Biden for submitting the Kigali Amendment to the Senate and urge bipartisan support for ratification,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones. “We can tackle climate change while strengthening our global competitiveness as we transition to next-generation technologies.… We urge policymakers to support Kigali ratification and prove that smart policy can be a win for the economy and the environment.”

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