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US Senate approves Kigali Amendment to phase down the use of HFCs

US Senate approves Kigali Amendment to phase down the use of HFCs

Legislators in the US Senate has reportedly voted to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the decades-old Montreal Protocol, the international treaty to protect the planet’s ozone layer by phasing out the use and production of ozone depleting substances.

According to reports, the landmark amendment commits the country to rapidly phase down the use of certain refrigerants that are also classified as a super greenhouse gases.

The Kigali Amendment urges developed nations to reduce the usage of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are used in refrigerators, air conditioning, and fire extinguishers by 85% by 2036.

The plan was drafted as an update to the Montreal Protocol, which was aimed at protecting and repairing the ozone layer in the late 1980s. The original treaty targeted the reduction in the usage of ozone-depleting substances, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), that were typically used as refrigerants back then.

Eventually, the two were replaced by HFCs that are still harmful to the environment.

HFCs are considered super-potent greenhouse gases which are a thousand times more harmful in comparison to carbon dioxide in heating the Earth.

To ratify the amendment to the treaty, at least a two-thirds majority in the Senate needed to vote in favor. Now with the approval of the Kigali Amendment, which garnered a 69-27 vote in Senate, the US has become the 138th country to make ratifications to the amendment.

While it took years for the US to get on board officially, the current administration under President Biden has moved to phase out HFCs in an effort to curb climate change and push domestic manufacturing.

The stimulus bill that was passed in 2020 included provisions that pushed the country to either way meet the goals under the Kigali Amendment, tasking the EPA to create rules for reducing the production of HFC, as well as its consumption by 85% in the next 15 years.

Lawmakers expect that the new mandate of slashing HFCs will create 150,000 jobs and generate around $39 billion in economic benefits in the coming seven years.

Consumers are not expected to note much difference as it does not mandate the complete removal of HFCs or for consumers to throw away their old electronics. Appliances that make use of alternate refrigerants will also have the same look and function as the older ones.

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Pooja Sharma

Pursuing her professional career as a content writer for over two years now, Pooja Sharma is endowed with a post-graduate degree in English Literature. The articles that she writes are a balanced blend of her ever-growing love of language and the technical expertise that she has gained over the years. Currently Pooja pens insightful articles for Newsorigins and numerous other websites, covering subjects such as business, finance, and technology.