The Montreal Protocol was established in 1987 to facilitate a global approach to combat depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer. Every country in the world is a party to the Protocol, and it has successfully phased out or is in the process of phasing out several key classes of chemicals, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), and halons. The transitions out of CFCs and HCFCs provide major ozone layer protection benefits, but the unintended consequence is the rapid current and projected future growth of climate-damaging HFCs.
For the past four years, the United States, Canada, and Mexico have proposed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs. The amendment would gradually reduce consumption and production and control byproduct emissions of HFCs in all countries, and require reporting in these areas. The amendment includes a financial assistance component for countries that can already access the Protocol's Multilateral Fund, and leaves unchanged the reporting and accounting provisions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and Kyoto Protocol on HFC emissions.
President Obama commented at a press briefing, following the bilateral meeting at Sunnylands Retreat in Rancho Mirage, CA, ". . . for example, neither country by itself can deal with the challenge of climate change. That's an issue that we'll have to deal with together. China as the largest country, as it continues to develop, will be a larger and larger carbon emitter unless we find new mechanisms for green growth. The United States, we have the largest carbon footprint per capita in the world; we've got to bring down our carbon levels in order to accommodate continued growth. And so that will translate then into opportunities for specific work around green technologies and research and development, and interactions between our scientists so that we can, together, help advance the goal of a sustainable planet, even as we continue to grow and develop."
Access a release from the White House on the Agreement (click here). Access the comments of the President and President Xi at the press briefing (click here). Access a press briefing by National Security Advisor Tom Donilon on the U.S. - China meeting with mention of the HFC agreement (click here). Access the EPA 2012 document (click here). Access an overview and link to a summary and the full text of the 2013 North American Amendment Proposal to Address HFCs under the Montreal Protocol (click here). Access a release from UNEP (click here). Access a release from Rep. Waxman and link to the letter to the President (click here). Access the statement from EDF (click here). Access a release from Sierra Club (click here). [#Climate]