Senate to Consider Kigali Amendment Ratification
The White House today sent the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the treaty to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), to the Senate for its advice and consent to U.S. ratification. This action follows up on President Biden’s executive order earlier this year.
The Kigali Amendment, signed in Rwanda’s capital city in 2016, sets targets for every nation to phase down climate-polluting HFCs, the synthetic chemicals used in cooling appliances, insulating foams, and more.
129 countries, including China and India, have already ratified the Kigali amendment. The United States is already implementing the HFC phasedown under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act) enacted last year. The global HFC phasedown is well underway.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued rules under the AIM Act to phase down the supply of HFCs by 85% over the coming 15 years – the Kigali schedule – with initial reductions starting January 1, 2021. EPA is also working on rules to reduce the U.S.’s HFC use in the near future through specific end-use sector requirements to use climate-friendlier alternatives. These steps will facilitate a smooth phasedown.
Benefits for climate, domestic manufacturing, and jobs
By 2050 the Kigali amendment is expected to avoid as much climate-warming emissions as the entire planet now emits every two years. The HFC phasedown will prevent up to half a degree Celsius (almost one degree Fahrenheit) of warming by end of this century.
Domestic manufacturing stands to benefit from the Kigali Amendment as well. That is why the AIM Act and Kigali ratification have support running from the environmental community to the Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, and trade organizations representing the regulated industries. U.S. industry is at the forefront of innovation for HFC-alternatives and ratifying the Kigali Amendment will enable innovative American exporters’ access to fast-growing markets around the globe. The industry, which already employs 589,000 Americans, expects that ratification will help add 33,000 jobs.
It’s now up to the U.S. Senate to act on Kigali ratification. The U.S. has ratified the Montreal Protocol and all its amendments over the past 35 years with bipartisan support. Three years ago, 13 Republican senators urged President Trump requesting that he sent the Kigali Amendment for advice and consent. Seventeen GOP senators co-sponsored the AIM Act as well. The votes for ratification appear achievable.
The next steps
The next step will be consideration of ratification by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. A favorable vote from the Committee will forward the amendment to the Senate. Once the Senate has given its consent, President Biden will officially ratify it.
Thirty-five years of bipartisan U.S. leadership under the Montreal Protocol have proven time and again that the U.S. stands to gain from our participation in this international environmental treaty. Not ratifying Kigali will forego export growth opportunities that support American jobs, undermine climate action, and cede U.S. leadership in one of the most successful international forums. NRDC will work with the coalition of Kigali supporters to urge the Senate to act quickly on this important measure and ensure that the U.S. remains competitive and ambitious both domestically and abroad.