Ozone talks come to Rwanda

Published by East African Business Week
On 20 September 2016 saa 01:44
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Rwanda is calling on the world to pass an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Ozone Depleting Substances, which would represent the most significant global action to reduce climate change since the adoption of the Paris Agreement when delegates convene in Kigali next month.

According to a press release, the Rwanda government will persuade participants to agree on the early phase down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - strong greenhouse gases used mainly in refrigeration, solvents, propellants and aerosols with a high global warming potential. This could avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century.

Dr. Vincent Biruta, the Rwanda Minister of Natural Resources said last week: "We look forward to welcoming all Parties to the Montreal Protocol to Rwanda in the spirit of international cooperation.

"We are pleased to see so many countries supporting an ambitious amendment and are confident that it will be passed when we meet in Kigali in October. Rwanda stands ready to work with all Parties to find common ground and make the amendment a reality," he said.

The proposed amendment comes as Rwanda joined the world last week to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, held every year on 16 September.

More than 1,000 international leaders and ozone preservation and low carbon development experts are expected in Rwanda from October 6 to14 at the Kigali Convention Centre.

A successful amendment to the protocol would signal the international community’s commitment to practical action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement - limiting global warming to 2°C, and the more ambitious target of 1.5°C.

Rwanda is recognised for its leading role in implementing the Montreal Protocol, exceeding targets and beating deadlines set under the treaty. This includes achieving zero use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs) ozone-depleting substances by 2010, a year before the set deadline.

Rwanda’s outstanding contribution to the preservation of the Ozone Layer earned the country the 2012 Ozone Protection Award from the Ozone Secretariat of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).

The Montreal Protocol is a global agreement that protects the ozone layer by phasing out the production of substances responsible for ozone depletion and climate change.

Due to the Montreal Protocol, there has been a 98% reduction in ozone depleting chemicals globally and the ozone layer is now healing and expected to recover by 2050. By passing an ambitious amendment to phase down HFCs, this may help prevent two million cases of skin cancer annually by 2030 and avoid up to 0.5°C of global warming by the end of the century.

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Dr. Vincent Biruta, the Rwanda Minister of Natural Resources