President Obama and Chinese President Xi today announced their intention to cooperate in advancing efforts to limit the potent greenhouse gases known as HFCs.
“This is a significant step forward for the two nations that are the largest emitters of greenhouses gases. It’s the kind of international cooperation we’ll need to drive a comprehensive solution,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund. “Climate change will have huge economic costs on both sides of the Pacific, and the solutions to climate change – like leadership on clean energy technologies – offer enormous economic benefits. These two leaders know it is in their national interests to move forward.”
The two presidents met in in California, home of the most ambitious climate law in the United States. They agreed to “work together and with other countries to use the expertise and institutions of the Montreal Protocol to phase down the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons” (HFCs), potent man-made greenhouse gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration. A recent report from the World Resources Institute concluded that, “[e]liminating HFCs represents the biggest opportunity for GHG emissions reductions” other than power plants in the United States.
“The U.S. and China are the two biggest players in the international climate arena, and the fact that they’re talking about cooperation is a pretty big deal,” said Krupp. “It’s only one step forward, but a very positive one.”