An ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol has passed at the 28th Meeting of the Parties to the Protocol in Rwanda. The Kigali Amendment is the most significant climate mitigation step the world has taken since the ratification of the Paris Agreement.
The historic deal gives hope that the international community can address climate change, limit the rise in temperatures and avoid the worst impacts of a warming planet.
The amendment mandates the phase out of chemical substances known as hydrofluorocarbons – greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning that are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. By implementing the Kigali Amendment, the world can avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century as well as the equivalent of 100 to 200 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in the near-term to 2050.
Delivering his address after the adoption of the amendment, Rwanda’s Minister of Natural Resources and President of the 28th Meeting of the Parties, Vincent Biruta, said:
“Passing the Kigali Amendment is truly a success. It shows the world that meaningful action on climate change is possible and that we stand a real chance of limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius. We have made history today and we should all be very proud.”
Minister Biruta also congratulated delegates for their historic achievement.
“Your commitment to a prosperous future and your willingness to come to the table in the spirit of collaboration is not only the hallmark of the Montreal Protocol, but also the best of humanity,” he said.
The Kigali Amendment is the result of seven years of negotiation. Under the amendment, developed countries will start to phase down HFCs by 2019 while developing countries will freeze their levels of consumption in 2024, with some starting the freeze in 2028.
“Last year in Paris, we promised to keep the world safe from the worst effects of climate change. Today, we are following through on that promise,” said Erik Solheim, UN Environment Executive Director.
The amendment comes just weeks before the 22nd Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) in Marrakesh. The adoption of the Kigali Amendment builds momentum for even greater success in Morocco.
Under the Kigali Amendment, Rwanda will set its baseline as early as January 2017 and aims to beat the targets set – just as it did for the original Montreal Protocol when the country achieved zero use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) ozone-depleting substances by 2010, a year before the deadline. This is a demonstration of Rwanda’s commitment to sustainable development and environmental protection.
About the Montreal Protocol
Adopted in 1987, the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the most successful UN environmental agreement in history. Ratified by 197 parties, it has led to a 98 per cent decrease in the production and use of ozone-damaging chemicals, helping the ozone layer to start recovering, saving an estimated two million people each year by 2030 from skin cancer and contributing to mitigating climate change.