LANDMARK SEQUEL TO PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD WILL BAN HFC'S, DIMINISHING FUTURE GREENHOUSE GASES

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23 july 2016

[4C Note: A commentator on this news from the Climate Action Network email list spelled out the quantitative significance of the new agreement: "we can avoid a 0.5 degree C additional warming by end century if we phase out these F-gases."]

A Sequel to the Paris Climate Accord Takes Shape in Vienna

By CORAL DAVENPORT, The New York Times, JULY 23, 2016

WASHINGTON — When negotiators from nearly 200 countries gathered outside Paris in December for the United Nations summit meeting on climate change, they reached the first agreement to take action on curbing their planet-warming pollution.

This weekend in Vienna, with far less attention, negotiators from those same countries neared a deal that many environmentalists have called the most significant action this year to reduce global warming.

While the Paris agreement aims to reduce the use of coal and oil, which produce the carbon dioxide emissions that are the chief cause of global warming, negotiators in Vienna pushed ahead on a deal to ban the use of hydrofluorocarbons, chemicals used in air-conditioners and refrigerators. Although they contribute only a small percentage of the world’s greenhouse gases, these chemicals, known as HFCs, can trap heat in the atmosphere at levels a thousand times higher than carbon dioxide can, according to published scientific studies.

Negotiations to ban HFCs have dragged on for seven years. But the draft language emerging from the Vienna talks could lead to a final deal ready to be signed during an October conference in Kigali, Rwanda.

The deal would be an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the landmark 1989 environmental treaty designed to close the hole in the ozone layer by banning ozone-depleting coolants called chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs.

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