The deal, which was approved in Kigali, Rwanda, on the back of India’s strong support, aims to substantially reduce the use of the super greenhouse gases,hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), by the middle of this century. This will help the planet avoid 0.5 degree Celsius of warming and complement the Paris Agreement on climate change.
The new deal will aim to keep the average global temperature rise within 2 degrees celsius above the pre-industrial level by the end of the century. To begin with, only developed countries, including the US, Japan and west European nations, will start phasing down these refrigerants, which are thousands of times more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide.
Developing countries, on the other hand, will only later on start their phase-down. Since India did not want to be clubbed with its traditional climate allies like China, South Africa and Brazil, the agreement has put the developing countries in two different categories.
“We were flexible, accommodative and ambitious. The world is one family and, as a responsible member of the global family, we played our part to support and nurture this agreement,” said India’s environment minister Anil Madhav Dave immediately after the agreement was reached after a gruelling round of negotiations on Saturday.
India had been pushing for a later deadline for the country as its growing middle class has started using ACs, fridges and other products which contain HFCs and say it needs time to allow its industries to adapt to newer technologies.
That acted as a catalyst for arriving at the deal as it was agreed for the first time to set two different phase-down timelines for developing countries — one for India, Pakistan, Iran and others and the second for China, South Africa, Brazil and others.