US President Joe Biden has set the wheels in motion for his country to finally ratify the Kigali Amendment for the phasing down of HFCs. It was announced among a raft of measures aimed at addressing climate change.
Via an executive order, Biden directed his administration to prepare to send the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for its advice and consent to US ratification. It was just one of the orders signed on “Climate Day” at the White House, which together signal a radically different approach to environmental issues to the outgoing administration.
“We have already waited too long to deal with this climate crisis, we can’t wait any longer,” said Biden. “We see it with our own eyes, we feel it in our bones. It’s time to act.”
As well as getting the ball rolling on Kigali, Biden signed orders for the US government to pause and review all oil and gas drilling on federal land, to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and to replace the government’s vast fleet with electric vehicles made in the US. He also spoke of a plan to build 1.5 million new energy-efficient homes and public housing units.
“These executive orders follow through on President Biden’s promise to take aggressive action to tackle climate change, including rejoining the Paris Agreement,” says a statement from the White House Briefing Room.
“President Biden set ambitious goals that will ensure America and the world can meet the urgent demands of the climate crisis, while empowering American workers and businesses to lead a clean energy revolution that achieves a carbon-pollution-free power sector by 2035 and puts the United States on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050.”
The signs are positive that the US Senate will move forward with ratification of the Kigali Amendment. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NDRC), based on previous calls for ratification from Democrats and Republicans, “there is every reason to expect bipartisan support”.
If the US does ratify, it may prompt China and India to follow suit. Although both countries have developed domestic phase-down plans, they are conspicuously absent from the list of ratifying countries, which now numbers more than 110.