On this day we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the adoption of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on 15 October 2016.
The Kigali Amendment’s main objective is to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons – or HFCs. While HFCs are not ozone-depleting they are potent greenhouse gases. In fact, some HFCs are more than a thousand times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate warming. But mindful of having solved one environmental issue – ozone protection – but creating another by using HFCs which are not climate friendly, the parties to the Montreal Protocol once more demonstrated their agility to adapt by adopting the Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs 5 years ago.
As we mark this milestone, 127 parties out of 198 parties to the Montreal Protocol have ratified the Amendment and more will follow suit as we target universal ratification and implementation of the Amendment in the coming years.
Countries that ratify the Kigali Amendment commit to a phasing down of HFC production and consumption that could potentially avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of this century. In addition, the Amendment also encourages HFC replacement technologies that are energy efficient. By fully implementing the Kigali Amendment and improving the energy efficiency and adoption of low global warming potential (GWP) alternatives in the cooling sector the climate benefits of the Amendment could potentially be doubled. In addition, the Kigali Amendment impacts food loss mitigation. More than a third of food is lost or wasted each year. By adopting ozone and climate friendly sustainable cold chains, parties that ratify the Amendment will also help combat food loss.
The Montreal Protocol and its Kigali Amendment are a testament of what has, and can, potentially be achieved. Now is the time to listen to the science and react with global collaboration to collectively reduce the environmental issue of our time: reducing carbon emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reported in August of the need to curb carbon emissions rates with immediate effect if we are to avoid potential irreversible environmental damage.
If the Amendment is fully ratified and implemented, humanity could make great strides towards meeting the necessary targets to avoid an environmental disaster. Let every party to the Kigali Amendment do their part. It is possible!