Seeking support through the end of 2018
At the February 2018 Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit, Paul Hawken presented the top 100 solutions to global warming, identified in his initiative called Project Drawdown.
The #1 climate solution on the Drawdown list is refrigerant management. The reason it is the number one climate solution is 1) many refrigerants contain a climate “super-pollutant” known as hydroflourocarbons (HFCs), and 2) there is a known path to eliminating HFCs. Campuses are large consumers of refrigerants found in air conditioning products, heating and cooling units, and energy systems that support student housing, classrooms, research labs, and offices. If your campus wants to take climate action, refrigerant management should be on your radar, but like other supply-chain issues, the solution can seem too far removed.
The good news is that this climate problem has a clear solution. The way elimination can happen is through the adoption of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The Montreal protocol was a highly successful international treaty that phased out chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) in the late 1980’s. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is an agreement signed in 2016 to additionally phase out HFCs. The US was a party to the Kigali Amendment in 2016 and the senate now needs to ratify it to become law.
This ratification hinges on support from the Trump administration. They are open to supporting it, given the industry has been investing in HFC-free technology for years. There is widespread bi-partisan and cross-sector support to eliminate HFCs including an initiative from the Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers that you can read more about here. Additionally, 13 GOP senators have sent a letter to the administration encouraging them to support ratification.
The most recent IPCC report again emphasized the importance of climate action, and this is a clear win that our sector can help move the needle on. A nudge from you, as higher education institutions, would continue the broad base of support for the Kigali Amendment.
Here is a background document which overviews where things currently stand.
Here is the action you can take: Support ratification of the Kigali Amendment by joining your colleagues on this statement. We would like to wrap up higher education’s participation in this effort before the end of the calendar year.