Nations Unite to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
Sometimes the greater good rises to the top, transcending greed, corruption, denial and lack of transparency.
Recently, representatives from approximately 200 nations including China, India and the United States (the three top polluters) met to negotiate greenhouse gas reduction. After an all-night deliberation that began Friday October 14th and extended beyond midnight on Saturday, a set of agreements were reached.
The talks mainly revolved around hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs which have been recorded as one of the world’s fastest growing cause of global warming. HFC’s are emitted from air conditioning, refrigerators and manufacturing of insulating foams. Reducing their use is predicted to significantly impact greenhouse gas development.
In 1987 HFC’s replaced chlorofluorocarbons found in many manufacturing and household uses particularly aerosol sprays. However, although replacement had a positive impact on the growing ozone layer which is now almost completely closed, scientists realized after years of HFC use that this chemical was even more dangerous to our atmosphere. It turns out that HFC’s pose what is believed to be hundreds, if not thousands, of times more ability to trap heat radiating off the earth than carbon dioxide.
Some corporate leaders in the HFC business are trying to debunk the urgency to eliminate this chemical stating that there is not enough of it being used, particularly in developing countries. However, the Associated Press reports that Secretary of State John Kerry commented that,
“currently [HFC’s] emit as much pollution as 300 coal-fired power plants each year. That amount will rise significantly over the coming decades as air conditioning units and refrigerators reach hundreds of millions of new people.
A Slow Go but Better than Nothing
Starting in 2019 countries will begin scaling back HFC production embracing newer technologies that do not need this chemical. Some other countries like China will begin action initiatives by 2024 and India, Pakistan and Gulf states will phase in by 2028. Although the progress seems like a very slow timeframe it is much better than useless fighting with climate change deniers when nothing is achieved other than more hot air.
According to the Associated Press,
“The U.N. Environment Program has said that reducing HFCs under an extension of the Montreal Protocol could reduce global warming by a half-degree Celsius by the end of this century.”
India's chief delegate, Ajay Narayan Jha comments,
“It's a very historic moment, and we are all very delighted that we have come to this point where we can reach a consensus and agree to most of the issues that were on the table,”
Overall, according to the World Resources Institute, the agreement will cut HFC levels by eighty to eighty-five percent by 2047.
The March Does Not Stop Here
When this many heads of state draft an agreement such as this it once again brings to light the reality of our planet’s dire future to once and for all stave off those only concerned about the bottom line. Although this concerted effort and many before it such as the Montreal Protocol, the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol (which the US was not part of) is in the works, many believe it is now beyond human control. Barring the mindset that action should have been taken twenty or even fifty years ago, all we can do now is embrace the current effort by our leaders regardless of the many naysayers that believe otherwise.
Erik Solheim, executive director of the U.N. Environment Program comments,
“This is about much more than the ozone layer and HFCs. It is a clear statement by all world leaders that the green transformation started in Paris is irreversible and unstoppable,”
Carol Werner, executive director of the Environmental and Energy Study Institute continues,
“Acting on HFCs does not exempt us from acting on CO2 or other important greenhouse gases like methane. We emit considerably more carbon, and it lingers in the atmosphere for more than 500 years,”
It is more important than ever to continue diligent work both personally, residentially and commercially to reduce, reuse and recycle as well as continue a sustainable movement across all genres and platforms for the healthy future of our planet.
This post was posted in Blog and Green Library, Politically Green and was tagged with chlorofluorocarbons, global warming, greenhouse effect, greenhouse gas, HEALTH SENSITIVE, HFC's, hydrofluorocarbons, SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS