U.S. President Barack Obama and China President Xi Jinping have just announced an agreement between the two countries to help fight climate change. The agreement in in relation to hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, which are known to be potent greenhouse gases.
“The United States and China will work together and with other countries to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons,” noted the White House statement.
The Montreal Protocol is an international treaty, signed in 1987 and then amended in 1990, to phase out the use of ozone depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Since then, HFCs have been the most commonly used replacement for CFCs, and are found in such products as air conditioning units and refrigerators.
This is another positive step along the road to addressing climate change for both countries, which are responsible for 43% of global CO2 emissions. The White House statement noted that reducing global HFC use could reduce as much as 90 gigatons of CO2 equivalent by 2050, which is equal to about two years of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Needless to say, the fact that the environment is in any discussion at all between the two, outside of United Nations cimate talks, is a big deal. An new agreement like this has the potential to make a decent dent in the future of global emissions.
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