On Monday, the government of Rwanda hosted a group of environmental experts, philanthropists, business leaders, and government representatives to mark the adoption of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Sixty-seven countries ratified the amendment—named after the place of its adoption, Kigali, Rwanda—to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, chemicals used in cooling appliances that cause rapid climate change, and replace the potent greenhouse gases with climate-friendly alternatives.
According to the International Energy Agency’s Kigali Cooling Tracker, over the next 30 years, 10 air conditioners are expected to be sold every second. So this chemical phase-out is expected to prevent the pollution of up to 105 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gases, helping to avoid up to 0.5 degree Celsius of global temperature rise by 2100.
Paired with energy efficiency measures globally, the Kigali Amendment could avoid up to 1 degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation was one of many philanthropies contributing to the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program to help developing countries enhance the energy efficiency of cooling as they phase out hydrofluorocarbons.
Rwanda, the birthplace of this amendment in 2016, has launched the Rwanda Cooling Initiative, along with a National Cooling Strategy to lead the way and model for other nations what forward-looking policies can do to offer cleaner, more efficient cooling to populations, particularly in the hottest parts of the world.
“This package of policies from the Government of Rwanda is truly world class, combining standards with a longer-term vision for meeting the country’s cooling needs and thinking about how they can be financed,” said Dan Hamza-Goodacre, executive director of the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program. “This comes on top of Rwanda’s leadership in securing the agreement of all 197 countries to phase down polluting gases used in cooling. Congratulations, Rwanda! The world needs more leadership like this.”