Companies and higher education institutions call for a global phase down of ‘super pollutant’ hydrofluorocarbons

A group of companies and higher education institutions are calling on President Trump and his administration to back—and the U.S. Senate to ratify—the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which sets the stage for the global phase down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). 

“We support the development of well-designed implementing actions to phase down HFC production and use,” the 48 signatories wrote in a set of letters submitted this week to President Trump. “We see significant advantages to an orderly phase-down of HFCs and their replacement with next-generation chemicals—replacement products that have been developed by American companies and whose production will benefit the U.S. economy.”  

Primarily used for cooling and refrigeration, HFCs are a type of greenhouse gases known as “super-pollutants” because they are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. If left unchecked, emissions from HFCs will increase to as much as 19 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 as global population and demand for air conditioning continues to grow. 

“As the rest of the world takes steps to ratify the Kigali Amendment, it is critical that the U.S. step up with a clear and predictable plan for transitioning away from HFCs,”  said Anne Kelly, senior director of policy and the BICEP Network at Ceres. “Such a move will ensure that the investments and technologies in the next generation of products happen right here in the U.S. and provide policy certainty to the many companies that use HFCs in their operations and supply chains.” 

“This is a policy issue with a clear answer. We know HFCs as dominant greenhouse gases, and we have a feasible phase-down path available with both environmental and economic incentives,” said Tim Carter, President of Second Nature. “For presidents of the universities and colleges of our Climate Leadership Network, supporting ratification of the Kigali Amendment is an evident, tangible stance to take in support of our climate goals and mitigation efforts.”

The signatories include Berea College, Gap, Inc., Kaiser Permanente, Lesley University, Microsoft, Ohio State University, PepsiCo, Inc., Rochester Institute of Technology, Salesforce, and Unilever, among others. These companies and institutions see policies and regulation that support curtailing HFCs as an important opportunity for economic growth and job creation in the U.S., the result of a boost in manufacturing of HFC-free products and in industries related to cooling and refrigeration.

“America’s retailers are committed to finding solutions that decrease greenhouse gas emissions and fight climate change. The Kigali Amendment is a commonsense approach to phasing down harmful HFCs while increasing access to cleaner technologies created right here at home. We urge the Senate to ratify the Amendment so American industries have a clear path forward as they transition away from HFCs,” said Erin Hiatt, senior director of sustainability and innovation for RILA.

“Academic institutions are often at the forefront of developing innovative, new technologies,” said Dianne F. Harrison, President, California State University Northridge. “As the rest of the world moves to phase down the use of HFCs, ratification of the Kigali Amendment will help spur innovation and investment in the next generation of cooling and refrigeration, ensuring that we are able to keep pace with our academic peers abroad and that we continue to attract and grow first-class talent here in the U.S.”

In 2016, more than 170 countries agreed to the landmark Kigali Amendment. Under the Amendment, countries committed to gradually phasing down HFCs by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years in order to avoid up to 0.5°C warming by the end of the century. Since then, more than 65 countries have already ratified the amendment to begin efforts transition away from the highly potent greenhouse gases. 

The Trump Administration is currently deliberating whether to support ratification of the Kigali Amendment. It is expected that ratification would increase U.S. net exports by $12.5 billion by 2027 and add about 33,000 jobs to the U.S. economy. 

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