An international treaty now on course to clear the Senate “is the strongest enforceable international accord on greenhouse gases to which the U.S. has agreed to abide,” according to POLITICO Pro (subscription).
The background: The Kigali Amendment, advanced Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is a change to the Montreal Protocol of 1987, which “banned various chemicals [hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs] that were depleting Earth’s ozone layer.”
- Negotiated in 2016 by the United Nations, the Kigali Amendment aims to phase down the global use of HFCs, popular refrigerant alternatives and potent greenhouse gases.
- It “is projected to avoid up to half a degree Celsius of warming by 2100, making it a key part of global goals to limit warming.”
- In late 2020, Congress passed legislation requiring the EPA to issue rules phasing down the use of HFCs by 85% by 2036, in keeping with the Kigali Amendment’s requirements.
Facilitating the next generation: “With ratification of the Kigali Amendment, the U.S. will join about 130 countries in a multi-decade plan to phase down the production and consumption of 18 highly polluting substances known as HFCs,” Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID) said, according to POLITICO Pro.
- “The Kigali Amendment will facilitate the transition to the next generation of refrigerants. Our U.S. industry enjoys a strong competitive advantage in the production of successor chemicals that will replace HFCs. Approval of this treaty will ensure our companies have full and fair access to the markets of the other treaty parties.”
Next steps: Assuming all 50 Democrats vote for the treaty, final Senate ratification will require a minimum of 17 Republican votes to reach the required two-thirds majority.
- “We have been urging policymakers to support Kigali ratification and prove that smart policy can be a win for the economy and the environment,” said NAM Vice President of Energy and Resources Policy Rachel Jones.
- “If we can finish getting this through the Senate, we will have set ourselves on a path to create up to 150,000 jobs in the United States and cut billions of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere. This kind of win-win should be the model for approaching all of our environmental challenges.”