An international agreement to eliminate ozone-depleting gases is being hailed as a “pivotal moment” in the battle against global warming. The deal, signed by 191 countries, will phase out the use of hydrocloroflourcarbons, or HCFCs, by 2030 – 10 years ahead of an earlier target date. Developed nations have committed to a deadline of 2020. The accord was struck at a UN conference in Montreal.
Canada’s Environment Minister John Baird said: “Today we’re seeing historic action for our environment, real action with real results, no talk, no empty rhetoric. It’s not often that the world can convene in one place, and so quickly come to an international agreement that really satisfies all parties”
Washington says the faster phasing-out of HCFCs will be twice as effective as the Kyoto protocol in fighting climate change. The US pulled out of the protocolin 2001 and Canada says it cannot meet its targets. The Kyoto pact is intended to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases and increase the use of renewable energy.
Baird said the fact that the US, India and China had signed up in Montreal was a promising sign ahead of talks to produce a climate change agreement to replace Kyoto after 2012.