The move is expected to provide momentum to climate negotiations at the Paris summit in December
All 54 countries of the African continent have endorsed the start of formal negotiations to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), one of the six main greenhouse gases responsible for global warming. Meeting at the 15th session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in Cairo, the countries requested member states to form a contact group to begin negotiations this year.
Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, said in an official press release, “The 54 countries of Africa face some of the most immediate and damaging climate impacts, and they recognise that cutting HFCs through the Montreal Protocol will be a huge climate victory both for the continent, and for all nations throughout the world.” He added that phasing down HFCs would provide tremendous momentum to negotiating an ambitious climate agreement at the Paris summit later this year.
HFCs are up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Reducing the production and consumption of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol is expected to help avoid 0.5°C of warming by 2100.
“Though HFCs currently represent a small fraction of the total greenhouse gas emissions, their global warming potential is very high, and their emissions could rise even up to 40 per cent of annual carbon dioxide emissions by the middle of the century if society continues,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner in his address at the Cairo meeting.
The Montreal Protocol will conduct an extraordinary meeting in April where several groups of countries are likely to submit formal proposals to phase down HFCs.
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