News ID: 170381
Published: 0239 GMT October 16, 2016

Global deal reached to phase out super greenhouse gases

Global deal reached to phase out super greenhouse gases

In a major step toward curbing global warming, the world community agreed to phase out a category of dangerous greenhouse gases widely used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

Nearly 200 countries agreed to end production and consumption of so-called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under an amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer, AFP wrote.

HFCs stoke climate change because they are super-efficient at trapping heat in Earth's atmosphere.

By scrapping these substances, say experts, a massive step could be made towards achieving the UN's goal to roll back global warming.

The agreement was greeted by applause from exhausted envoys who worked through the night in Rwanda's capital Kigali to put the finishing touches on the deal.

"Last year in Paris, we promised to keep the world safe from the worst effects of climate change. Today, we are following through on that promise," UN Environment Program chief Erik Solheim declared.

US President Barack Obama said in a White House statement that the agreement was "an ambitious and far-reaching solution to (the) looming crisis" of climate change.

It adds powerfully to the 2015 Paris Agreement, due to take effect next month after crossing the threshold for ratification by signatory countries, Obama said.

"Together, these steps show that, while diplomacy is never easy, we can work together to leave our children a planet that is safer, more prosperous, more secure, and more free than the one that was left for us."

Among green groups, WWF said the deal was "great news for the climate".

"It sends a powerful signal that our governments are serious about tackling climate change," its climate spokeswoman Regine Guenther said.

Under the agreement, rich countries will move faster than developing giants to scrapping HFCs — a concession that was a source of regret for some.

"It may not be entirely what the islands wanted, but it is a good agreement," said a representative of the tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands, Mattlan Zackhras, whose country is badly exposed to sea-level rise.

"We all know we must go further, and we will go further."

Christian Aid's senior policy advisor, Benson Ireri, added: "It was a shame that India and a handful of other countries chose a slower timeframe for phasing down HFCs."

But he said the international community had passed its "first real test" since the historic Paris climate deal.

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