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Montreal Protocol: deal of HFCs shows global momentum to tackle climate change

  • Nations pass first climate test since the UN Paris Agreement

  • Deal could have been stronger but some nations chose slower path

  • Likely that market forces drive further change

14 October 2016 - Christian Aid has today hailed the amendment of the Montreal Protocol to phasedown HFCs as a sign that the world remains committed to tackling climate change following last year’s historic Paris Agreement.

Christian Aid’s Senior Policy Advisor, Benson Ireri, said the deal struck in Rwanda to tackle polluting refrigerants, would make a significant contribution to the ambition of Paris.

He said: “This was the first real test faced by nations since they committed to limiting global warming in the Paris Agreement.  It is good to see they have passed that test.  Despite some long negotiations, they have shown the global transition to a sustainable planet remains on course.

“HFCs posed an immediate threat to a safe climate due to their increasing use and high global warming potential, thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide.  By agreeing to an early HFC phasedown schedule, we’ve bought ourselves a bit more time to shift to a global low carbon economy and protect the world’s most vulnerable people.

“As global warming makes the world hotter, more people, especially in the developing world, will want to cool themselves down with air conditioners and refrigerators.  It is essential that the cooling devices of the present and future do not put the Paris Agreement at risk by making the climate problem worse and turning it into a vicious cycle.”

He added: “It was a shame that India and a handful of other countries chose a slower time frame for phasing down HFCs but the bulk of nations, including China, have seen the benefits of going for a quicker reduction.  It’s also been encouraging to see small island states and African countries a part of this higher ambition group.

“It’s highly likely that innovation and market forces mean the world actually beats these targets anyway.  That is what has happened with previous targets agreed at the Montreal Protocol so hopefully that happens again.”

To aid the switch to newer and safer natural refrigerants, sufficient funding will be required through the Montreal Protocol’s Multilateral Fund to enable poorer countries to invest in the new technology.  Mr Ireri said it was vital that developed countries also shared their progress on technological breakthroughs.

He said: “The great thing about the Multilateral Fund is that it creates win-wins across the board. It subsidises any increased costs for using the cleaner refrigerants so consumers don't pay any more and the whole world reaps the climate benefits.   Newer cooling technology is also much more energy efficient, adding to further savings for both bills and the planet.

“It is essential that developed countries continue to provide more support to this fund. The greater the support and sharing of technological advancements, the quicker the shift will be to less polluting devices in developing countries.

“It’s now important that countries build on their positive steps here in Kigali and deliver some concrete actions on renewable energy in Marrakesh at COP 22.”


For interview requests or more information contact jware@christian-aid.org. The 24-hour Christian Aid press duty phone is 07850 242950.


Notes to editors: 

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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