Can Obama and Xi Make Climate History?

WASHINGTON,  — Environmental Investigation Agency  — As the Presidents of the two countries with the highest greenhouse gas emissions in the world meet, today and tomorrow, under immense global scrutiny, EIA urges them to take the single most, cost-effective mitigation available today which is to phase-down the production and use of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbon). Although, both countries announced a working group on climate change in their joint statement after the visit of Secretary of State John Kerry to China in April, the details of what actions
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will be taken to combat climate change have yet to be announced.


HFCs which have been commercialized to replace the chemicals that were destroying the ozone layer, have a devastating impact on the global climate.  They are primarily used in refrigeration, air conditioning, and for foam blowing. However, viable commercial alternatives that do not destroy the climate, exist for most of their uses. A global phase-down of HFCs, will prevent emissions of approximately 100 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents by 2050, equal to 20 years of the annual emissions of all of the cars in the world.  With concerted effort, at least 80% of HFCs can be phased-out by 2030 which will slow global warming and sea level rise, as well as prevent the world from reaching irreversible climatic “tipping points.”


The Congressional Bicameral Climate Change Task Force wrote to President Obama on June 5 th, urging him to “raise HFCs with President Xi”. Recognizing the growing international support for the amendment proposal to the Montreal Protocol proposed by the United States, Mexico and Canada to phase down the production and use of HFCs. They also asked the President “to seek Chinese support for a proposal to use the Montreal Protocol to phase-down the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)”. The full text of the letter is available here.


Reducing production and use of HFCs is the largest, fastest and most cost-effective mitigation option currently available,” said Mark W. Roberts, International Policy Advisor for the Environmental Investigation Agency.  “President Obama and President Xi have the opportunity make history and break the impasse on climate and take aggressive action to reverse climate change.”


The world has been waiting and watching. Unfortunately, there is not much time to wait.



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