U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is expected in Kigali where he will attend the 28th Montreal Protocol meeting.
According to John Kirby, Assistant Secretary and Department Spokesperson, Bureau of Public Affairs, Kerry will join over 1,000 officials in the possible amendment of the Montreal Protocol.
“U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will travel to Kigali, Rwanda, from October 13-14, 2016, to join EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and others in striving to achieve U.S. climate and environmental goals at the upcoming Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol,” Kirby said on Friday, while addressing journalists on Washington DC.
The 1978 Montreal Protocol on Substances that deplete the Ozone Layer is widely regarded to be one of “the most successful environmental treaties ever” and was the first treaty to achieve universal ratification.
This global agreement has put the stratospheric ozone layer on a path to recovery through measures to control production and consumption of ozone-depleting substances.
The negotiations in Kigali will be an opportunity to reach global agreement on an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down the production and consumption of hydroflourocarbons, or HFCs.
HFCs have become popular substitutes for ozone-depleting substances, but – while they are far better for the ozone layer – they are also potent greenhouse gases which means they contribute to global climate change.
“An ambitious HFC amendment would build on the positive momentum of the Paris Agreement and could avoid up to half a degree Celsius of warming by the end of this century,” Kirby added.
The meeting runs from October 8 - 14.
Experts have warned that failure to amend the protocol could increase risks of skin cancer and global warming.
A breakthrough in the ongoing negotiations of the parties to the Montreal Protocol will see a global agreement to phase down consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons - a potent greenhouse gas mainly used in refrigeration systems.
A successful amendment to the protocol would signal the international community’s commitment to practical action to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement – limiting global warming to 2°C, and the more ambitious target of 1.5°C.
In a recent interview with The New Times, Minister for Natural Resources, Dr Vincent Biruta, said that amending the protocol will also enable Africa and the rest of the world to consider green industrialisation, which will in the long run protect the Ozone layer; hence mitigating global warming and climate change in general.