Kigali, Rwanda was the scene of probably the most intense and far-reaching, marathon negotiations yet to take place among the nations of the world, as leaders sought to reach real-time strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions across the globe. The agreement, which has close to 200 signatures, is legally binding and tackles one of the leading instigators of global warming—hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
HFCs play a more harmful role in global warming than greenhouse gases. In fact, according to the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, bringing down HFC levels will result in a huge drop in global temperatures.
HFCs are used in devices such as refrigerators and air conditioners. As nations become more industrialized and economically successful, the number of air conditioning units in factories, stores, entertainment centers, etc. increases. As the local population’s economic standing improves, more are able to afford and utilize air conditioning units and refrigeration in their homes. Therefore, in an unfortunate twist, the better off the societies of the world, the worse it becomes for the global environment. This is why the international agreement is so important.
The international agreement on HFCs divides the world basically into three groups. Developed nations must begin to reduce their HFCs in 2019. Developing nations are divided into two groups, one, which includes China, has a deadline of 2024 and the other, including Pakistan and India, has a deadline of 2028. President Obama praised the commitment of the nations to come to an agreement of real solutions to what he sees as a “looming crisis.” Recognizing that diplomacy is certainly a challenge, Obama noted the importance of leaving a planetary legacy to future generations that is much improved from the one this generation inherited.