Washington, DC - Today the United States, Canada, and Mexico submitted an amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are highly potent greenhouse gases being used as replacements for substances being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.

The North American proposal calls on all countries to take action to reduce their consumption and production of HFCs. If adopted, the amendment could yield benefits through 2050 of over 90 gigatons of carbon dioxide-equivalent reductions, roughly equal to two years of current global annual anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a global agreement to protect the stratospheric ozone layer through measures to control production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances (ODS). The Montreal Protocol has achieved universal ratification and is considered by many to be the most successful multilateral environmental treaty to date. While in most instances actions through the Montreal Protocol have simultaneously decreased greenhouse gases, unfortunately the current phase-out of ODS has had the unintended consequence of increasing greenhouse gases as ODS are replaced with HFCs. Continued growth in air-conditioning and refrigeration demand coupled with the phase-out of ODS are rapidly increasing demand for HFCs used as coolants, and many HFCs are thousands of times more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide.

For more information on the Montreal Protocol and North American Amendment, please see hhttp://www.state.gov/e/oes/eqt/chemicalpollution/83007.htm