The United States, Canada and Mexico have submitted today a joint North American proposal to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. This joint effort takes a major step toward addressing the mounting threat of global climate change and demonstrates the commitment by the three governments to address shared environmental problems collectively.
At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Copenhagen this past December, President Obama called on leaders to build on momentum created by the Convention to ensure sustained actions on emissions and emphasized that success depends on engagement based on mutual interest and respect. This proposal reflects this commitment. If adopted, it would bolster multilateral efforts to reduce global emissions 50% by 2050. Together with our partners Canada and Mexico, the United States believes that global action on HFCs is needed and that the Montreal Protocol provides an established, effective and efficient instrument for tackling this problem.
This North American amendment proposal calls on all countries to take action to reduce their consumption and production of HFCs, with developed countries taking the lead in this effort, as they have consistently under the Montreal Protocol. The proposal, backed by an accompanying decision, also takes action on HFC-23, a byproduct from the production of HCFC-22 and a powerful greenhouse gas with a global warming potential more than 14,000 times that of CO2.
The problem of HFCs is closely linked with the phaseout of ozone-depleting compounds, including the phaseout of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). As the demand for air conditioning and refrigeration increases globally, and as countries accelerate their efforts to phase out HCFCs, producers of such products will turn increasingly to HFCs unless suitable alternatives can be identified. Phasing down consumption and production of HFCs will encourage the development of innovative alternatives that do not harm the ozone layer or the climate system.
The Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund agreed earlier this month on guidance to implement the accelerated phaseout of HCFCs. This is a welcome development -- one that should smooth the transition to replacements that pose no problem for the ozone layer and that will incentivize the adoption of alternatives with reduced impact on the climate system.
The United States looks forward to working with its partners in the run up to the 22nd Meeting of the Montreal Protocol Parties in November in Uganda to make the most effective use possible of the tools available today to safeguard the ozone layer and protect the global climate system.