Will President Donald Trump respect a climate deal finalized while Barack Obama was still president? After pulling the United States out of the 2015 Paris Agreement, and working to undo many of Obama’s climate regulations, the idea seems unbelievable – but it appears Trump’s administration won’t try to back out of the 2016 Kigali Amendment, under which the government would have to limit climate change-contributing refrigerants and coolants known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
Last year in Rwanda, delegates struck a deal to mandate countries to phase out the production and use of HFCs. The man-made chemicals “can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to climate change,” according to the United Nations Environment Program. And it appears the Trump administration won’t bow out of the deal.
Judith Garber, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the United States Department of State, said last week in Montreal, “The United States believes the Kigali Amendment represents a pragmatic and balanced approach to phasing down the production and consumption of HFCs, and therefore we support the goals and approach of the Amendment.”
She noted America was among the first countries that ratified the Montreal Protocol. But there’s no word yet on when the move could occur for this new amendment. Speaking at the 29th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol, Garber said, “There are a number of steps in our domestic process that we would need to complete before reaching a final decision on transmittal of the Kigali Amendment to the U.S. Senate for its advice and consent. There is no timeline currently determined for these steps, but we have initiated the process to consider U.S. ratification of the Amendment.”
Scientific American said America has taken around two to four years to ratify amendments in the past. 20 countries have already approved the Kigali Amendment, so it’s already achieved the required threshold of support and will go into effect in January 2019.