The Government of Liberia has ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to cut the use of climate-warming hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Hydrofluorocarbons are any of the several simple gaseous compounds that contain carbon, Fluorine, and hydrogen.
Carbon emissions as a concern in battling climate change comes from burning fossils through which humans produce heat, water, and carbon dioxide (CO2). The emission of CO2 affects the ozone layer — the atmospheric layer at heights of about 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 kilometers) that is normally characterized by high ozone content which blocks most solar ultraviolet radiation from entry into the lower atmosphere (Merriam Webster Dictionary).
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are climate-warming gases with significant global warming potential.
Liberia is the 100th nation — the latest — to ratify the Amendment, providing a welcome boost to global climate action and part of an accelerating trend of nations to approve the treaty and to begin work on phasing down the gases.
The Amendment targets a reduction in the use of HFCs, which became widely-used refrigerant substitutes for ozone-depleting substances that have been phased out under the Montreal Protocol.
The European Union – along with most of its member states – was a single block of parties to the Montreal Protocol along with others that made it possible for the Amendment to enter into force on 1 January 2019.
Other recent parties to ratify the Amendment include Bangladesh, Sierra Leone, the Holy See, and Romania.
The 2016 Kigali Amendment requires a phase-down of high global warming potential HFCs by more than 80 percent (in CO2-equivalent) over the next 30 years.
Estimates suggest that emissions avoided by 2100 could reach 5.6 to 8.7 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent per year.
In total, it would be over ten years worth of current annual emissions of CO2 due to human activities. This will avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming by the end of the century.
The Amendment builds on the success of the Montreal Protocol, which was set up in 1987 to protect human health and the environment caused by the depletion of the ozone layer.
“Liberia, like all developing countries, is not expected to make any financial contribution towards the implementation of the Amendment,” EPA Acting Executive Director, Randall M. Dobayou, clarifies in a press release.
Mr. Dobayou however said Liberia would receive both technical and financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund to implement the Kigali Amendment.
He lauded President George M. Weah and Foreign Affairs Minister, Gbehzohngar M. Findley, who signed the Amendment on behalf of the Liberian Government for upholding the Kigali Amendment, which is significant in the fight against climate change.
He disclosed that with the ratification of the Amendment, Liberia is better poised to receive climate-friendly technology through projects to be funded from Multilateral Fund to replace obsolete technologies, among others.
“There will be support for enabling activities for institutional strengthening, import and export licensing and quotes, environmental data reporting, demonstration projects, and the development of national strategies for phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),” Mr. Dobayou.
The ozone layer is now well on the way to recovery. The Protocol’s benefits include up to two million cases of skin cancer prevented each year by 2030, an estimated US$ 1.8 trillion in global health benefits, and almost US$ 460 billion in avoided damages to agriculture and fisheries up to 2060.