Push to Fix Ozone Layer and Slow Global Warming

Here’s a New York Times article about an unusual coalition of industrial and developing countries that have began pushing for stringent limits on the world’s most popular refrigerant for air-conditioners, as evidence mounts that the refrigerant harms the earth’s ozone layer and contributes to global warming.

The coalition is pitted against China, which has become the world’s leading manufacturer of air-conditioners that use the refrigerant, HCFC-22. Most window air-conditioners and air-conditioning systems in the United States use this refrigerant, as well.

International pressure has grown rapidly this winter for quick action. “We scientifically have proof: if we accelerate the phaseout of HCFC, we are going to make a great contribution to climate change,” said Romina Picolotti, the chief of Argentina’s environmental secretariat.

An accelerated phaseout of the refrigerant could speed up by five years the healing of the ozone layer of the atmosphere. It could also cut emissions of global-warming gases by the equivalent of at least one-sixth of the reductions called for under the Kyoto Protocol.

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