Sunday, October 16, 2016
The 28th Meeting of the Parties (MOP 28) to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer met in Rwanda last week. Among the discussion was the use and misuse of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC). The related working group met immediately prior to the general meeting in order to write draft policy on HFC. The use of HFC has environmental benefits. Hydrofluorocarbons can substitute for chemicals that deplete the ozone layer. Uncontrolled use of HFC leads to climate warming. The meeting focused on ways to manage the use of HFC, which would prevent a rise in world temperature by more than half a degree Celsius by the end of the century.
On Saturday, 170 nations signed an agreement limiting the use of HFC in air conditioners and refrigerators. The agreement amends the Montreal Protocol, a pact agreed to so that unified actions could take steps to close the hole in the ozone layer. At that time countries agreed to ban the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC).
The agreement exemplifies the UN's best. Nations working together to create solutions. The agreement acknowledges that poorer nations will take longer to implement HFC reduction. And scientists say slow implementation is insufficient to avert some warming. None of that takes away from the fact that 170 countries acknowledged the seriousness of the warming crisis and acted together to help save our planet.