This morning I was in attendance as Secretary of State John Kerry and key environmental and foreign ministers met near the United Nations to voice support for phasing down one of the world’s most powerful greenhouse gases: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Adding to new commitments from the U.S. and other countries, a group of foundations and private donors unveiled a new fund that will expand energy efficiency efforts in developing countries as HFCs are phased down. I am proud to announce that the Pisces Foundation intends to contribute $1 million to this new donor fund.
Today’s announcements come a little more than two weeks before Montreal Protocol negotiations begin in Kigali, Rwanda, where an amendment to reduce HFCs is expected. The Protocol is known as one of the word’s most effective environmental treaties, and it provides an international framework to phase down HFCs.
The new philanthropic fund responds to a request from developing nations. It has been created by a coalition of 19 foundations and donors that have pledged $53 million. These funds are specifically to bolster efforts in developing nations to pair energy efficiency improvements with HFC reductions (for example, through new energy-efficient, HFC-free appliances). It comes alongside funding commitments from supporting governments, which will help nations phase down the production and use of HFCs and replace them with newer, climate-safe coolants.
HFCs, which are chemicals used primarily in air conditioning and refrigeration, are part of a set of short-lived climate pollutants informally referred to as climate “super pollutants.” This is because pollutants like HFCs pack thousands of times the global warming punch of carbon dioxide. The growing use of HFCs could undo global progress made in addressing the threat of climate change.
The good news is solutions are in our reach that can allow us to act quickly. We already have the technology now to create alternatives to HFCs and make products that are more energy-efficient.
Studies show that phasing down HFCs may prevent an additional 0.5°C of global average temperature rise by the end of the century. Combined with energy efficiency gains and related carbon pollution savings, this effort could result in 1°C of climate savings.
Participating in this exciting collaboration is just one of many endeavors Pisces Foundation is pursuing to quickly accelerate progress and meet the challenge of climate change. Bolstering carbon cuts with needed reductions in all pollutants driving climate change—including HFCs and other climate super pollutants like black carbon and methane—is our best hope for successfully meeting the world’s climate goals.