In a landmark step to combat climate change, about 200 nations, including India, today struck a legally-binding deal after intense negotiations to phase down climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons that have global warming potential thousand times more than carbon dioxide.
Negotiators and policymakers held meetings all through the night, intensely deliberating to iron out differences over the amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reach the Kigali Amendment to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - that are widely used in fridges, air conditioning and aerosol sprays.
Theagreement reached by 197 parties on the amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is expected to prevent a global temperature rise of up to 0.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer.
According to the amendment, developed nations will reduce HFC use first, followed by China. India and nine other nations of South and West Asia will follow suit. Overall, the deal is expected to reduce HFC use by 85 per cent by the year 2045.
Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave, who attended the high-level segment of the conference in the Rwandan capital Kigali, said: "We cared for our development, industrial interest and at the same time the interest of the country."
"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," he said according to an official statement.
Speaking after the adoption of the amendment, Environment and Forest Ministry Secretary Ajay Narayan Jha said India came to the meeting "with an open mind and a sense of accommodation to get the best deal for India, for the developing countries and for the world. We have achieved that."
The amendment will enter into force on January 1, 2019, provided that at least 20 instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval of the amendment have been deposited by states or regional economic integration organisations that are parties to the Montreal Protocol on substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
Under the amendment, three different schedules have been set for countries to freeze and then reduce their production and use of HFCs.
The developed countries, led by the US and Europe, will reduce HFC use by 85 per cent by 2036 over a 2011-13 baseline.
China, which is the largest producer of HFCs in the world, will reduce HFC use by 80 per cent by 2045 over the 2020-22 baseline. India will reduce the use of HFCs by 85 per cent over the 2024-26 baseline.
Developed countries have also agreed to provide enhanced funding support to developing countries. The Montreal Protocol amendment is legally-binding, unlike the Paris Agreement signed last year but set to enter into force next month.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)