October 18, 2016 -- Following several days of negotiations between the United States and nearly 200 nations in Kigali, Rwanda, an agreement was reached to amend the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and use of potent heat-trapping chemicals knows as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Below is the statement of U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz:
'From the climate agreement forged in Paris to this new accord reached in Rwanda, the international community is continuing a year of positive action to cut the heat-trapping emissions that are warming our planet. These agreements will send signals to industry and innovators that countries are committed to developing and deploying a new generation of energy efficient and low-carbon solutions to meet the goals our nations have declared before the world, and encourage even greater ambition in the future.
'In order to develop and deploy low-carbon solutions, the United States will continue to lead research and development both at home and abroad through efforts such as Mission Innovation, an initiative in which 20 countries plus the European Union have now pledged to each seek a doubling of clean energy R&D investments over a five-year period.
'While the Montreal Protocol agreement reached today (10/17) will avoid the production and consumption of over 80 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent through 2050, these climate benefits could be doubled by enhancing by 30 percent the energy efficiency of the world's air conditioners and refrigerators as manufacturers transition away from using HFCs. Our Mission Innovation research portfolio will include collaboration with partners on environmentally-responsible, advanced cooling technologies.
'To seize this opportunity, this past June the Clean Energy Ministerial launched the Advanced Cooling Challenge to inspire governments and industry to make, sell, promote, and install super-efficient air conditioner or cooling solutions that are smart, climate friendly, and affordable. A coalition of governments - including the United States, India, China, Canada, Chile, and Saudi Arabia - have come together with a dozen businesses and organizations to answer this call to action.
'The U.S. Department of Energy is working with industry partners and national labs to develop a new generation of air conditioning and heating technologies to revolutionize the industry by utilizing low- to zero-global warming potential (GWP) innovations.
'This agreement also unlocks $80 million, including $53 million from philanthropic partners, to help developing countries that have chosen the 2024 freeze date to take early action to decrease HFC use and increase energy efficiency.
'None of this would be possible without the leadership of President Obama and the tireless work of Administrator McCarthy and Secretary Kerry and their teams, and our committed country partners from around the world. I commend all of them for their efforts to make our climate safer and our world healthier.'