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Rwanda Pushes World to Ratify ‘Kigali Amendment’

by Dan Ngabonziza
9:10 pm

Rwanda’s Minister of Environment Dr.vincent Biruta (grey tie) and colleagues from around the world for championing the Kigali Amendment

Barely a year after the ‘Kigali Amendment’ was signed to scale down production and consumption of hydro-fluorocarbons (HFCs), Rwanda wants all signatory countries to ratify the agreement.

The Kigali Amendment seeks to avoid emissions of over 70 billion tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (CO2e) by 2050.

In October last year, representatives from about 200 countries signed a global deal that has been billed as the ‘biggest single measure to limit global warming’ – bigger than the December 2015 COP12 Paris Agreement.

Through the deal, countries pushed to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs) – with a prospect to preventing up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global warming.

This means the will to avoid significant amounts of CO2 emissions from power plants that provide electricity to run these equipment is equivalent to production from between 1,600 medium-sized (500 MW) peak-load power plants by 2030, and up to 2,500 power plants by 2050.

One year after this amendment, only six countries namely Rwanda, Mali; the Federated States of Micronesia; the Marshall Islands, Palau and Norway have ratified the amendment ahead of 2019 deadline.

Addressing a high level event on Ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol last night on sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly, Rwanda’s Minister of Environment Dr. Vincent Biruta, said rapid ratification of the amendment will benefit developing countries.

The agreement includes two phase-down options for developing countries dubbed ‘Article 5 or A5 Parties’ and an earlier phase-down schedule for developed countries named ‘non-Article 5 or non A5 Parties’.

“Quick ratification also has benefits for individual member states including extra financial support dedicated to enabling activities for developing countries,” Biruta said.

According to Biruta, all concerned parties have exhibited commitment to ratify the agreement but added, “Now, the challenge is to maintain the momentum. We must work together  to effect the amendment on 1 January 2019.”

The Minister proposed to delegates that for all members to achieve the goals, “We need parties to follow the lead of those who have already ratified. I have no doubt that more early ratifications will create a similar positive momentum we saw with the Paris Agreement and encourage other nations to follow suit.”

The Amendment is to be effected on January 1st, 2019 provided at least 20 instruments of ratification, acceptance or approval have been deposited by Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

Minister Biruta addressed the high level meeting alongside Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, John Silk – Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Marshall Islands, Nicolas Hulot, Minister for Ecological and Inclusive Transition in France; Dr Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy from Costa Rica and President of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly, among other delegates.

Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, reported that August this year was the second warmest August in 137 years of modern record-keeping.

The measured value is consistent with the trend in global average surface temperatures that has been observed during the past few decades.

Last month was +0.85 degrees Celsius warmer than the mean August temperature from 1951-1980.