China and US agree on phase-down of potent GHGs at G20 Summit

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6 September 2013

NEW YORK: Today China’s President Xi and US President Obama reached a key agreement on the phase-down of the potent greenhouse gas, hydrofluorocarbon (HFC).

At the G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, China and the US announced plans to work together and with other nations to share expertise around the phase-down of the consumption and production of HFCs, through the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the international treaty to protect the Ozone Layer.

HFCs are industrial gases that are extremely potent greenhouse gases (GHGs). Used in air conditioning and refrigeration units and the manufacture of insulation, foams, solvents and fire suppressants, they are are up to 14,000 times as powerful as CO2 in trapping heat, according to the IPCC

Presently, HFCs are the fastest growing GHG worldwide. Scientific studies have estimated that mitigation solutions for HFCs could avoid between 45-115 gigatons of CO2e emissions by 2050.

Evan Juska, Head of US Policy, The Climate Group, said: "When you look at America's near term options for reducing GHG emissions, phasing out global HFC emissions is by far one of the most impactful.

"The fact that the US and China are the ones leading this effort demonstrates that international cooperation on climate change is indeed possible when the major players have an interest in making it happen."

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