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International agreement to reduce greenhouse gases hydrofluorocarbons emissions
200 countries have agreed in Kigali to reduce the emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are greenhouse gases used as an alternative to ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in foam production, refrigeration, and air conditioning. When it was realized that chlorofluorocarbons were responsible for the ozone hole over Antarctica, nations got together in Montreal in 1987 and agreed to stop using CFCs. CFCs were replaced by hydrofluorocarbons for refrigeration and other applications and their use has been increasing by 10% per year. However, it was realized that HFCs are far more potent than CO2 in trapping heat and they have a lifetime of 14 years in the atmosphere. The Kigali agreement is an amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The rapid growth of HFCs in recent years has been driven by a growing demand for cooling, particularly in developing countries with a growing middle class and hot climates. The Kigali amendment provides for exemptions for countries with high ambient temperatures to reduce use of HFCs at a slower pace. It is estimated that phasing out HFCs could prevent up to 0.5 degrees Celsius of global warming by the end of this century. UNEP Countries agree to curb powerful greenhouse gases in largest climate breakthrough since Paris