Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
UN Environment
greenhouse gas, smoke, pollution
© Chris 861/Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, concluded in October 2016, has entered into force on January 1st, 2019. Its 65 signatories are now on the fast track to significantly reducing the use of harmful greenhouse gases in the production of cooling devices, representing a major step towards achieving the goals of the Paris Agreement. After a season of unsatisfying climate negotiations, the amendment's implementation marks a time of action and reminds the international community why climate diplomacy ultimately pays off.

The world has taken an important step on the road to drastically reduce the production and consumption of powerful greenhouse gasses known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and limit global warming, with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer coming into force on 1st January 2019. If fully supported by governments, the private sector and citizens, the Kigali Amendment will avoid up to 0.4°C of global warming this century while continuing to protect the ozone layer. The amendment will substantively contribute to the goals of the Paris Agreement.

HFCs are organic compounds frequently used as refrigerants in air conditioners and other devices as alternatives to ozone-depleting substances controlled under the Montreal Protocol. While HFCs themselves do not deplete the ozone layer, they are extremely potent greenhouse gases with global warming potentials that can be many times higher than carbon dioxide.

The parties to the amendment have put in place practical arrangements for its implementation, including agreements on technologies for the destruction of HFCs and new data reporting requirements and tools. The amendment comes with provisions for capacity-building for developing countries, institutional strengthening and the development of national strategies to reduce HFCs and replace them with alternatives. Phasing down HFCs under the Kigali Amendment may also open a window to redesign cooling equipment that is more energy efficient, further increasing the climate gains.

Implementation of new targets set out in the amendment will be done in three phases, with a group of developed countries starting HFCs phase-down from 2019. Developing countries will follow with a freeze of HFCs consumption levels in 2024 and with a few countries freezing consumption in 2028. Ratified by 65 countries so far, the Kigali Amendment builds on the historic legacy of the Montreal Protocol agreed in 1987. The Protocol and its previous amendments, which require the phasing out of the production and consumption of substances that cause ozone depletion, have been universally ratified by 197 parties.

The broad support for and implementation of the Montreal Protocol has led to the phase-out of more than 99 per cent of nearly 100 ozone-depleting chemicals and significantly contributed to climate change mitigation. Evidence presented in the latest Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion shows that the ozone layer in parts of the stratosphere has recovered at a rate of 1-3% per decade since 2000. At projected rates, Northern Hemisphere and mid-latitude ozone is scheduled to heal completely by the 2030s followed by the Southern Hemisphere in the 2050s and polar regions by 2060. 

[This article originally appeared in]

Dr. Dhanasree Jayaram

Leaving No One Behind is the mantra of the 2019 UN-Water campaign. Foreign policy agendas of countries should apply the principle and integrate the voices of the most marginalised into the decision-making process, argues Dhanasree Jayaram.

Adaptation & Resilience
Climate Change
Climate Diplomacy
Global Issues
Benjamin Pohl, adelphi

Water is a matter of survival and plays a critical role in social, economic and environmental activities as well. With a rise in global demand for water, water crises have consistently featured among the World Economic Forum’s top global impact risks. Water insecurity, i.e., the lack of water availability for basic human needs and socio-economic development, undermines billions of livelihoods and poses significant risks for peace and prosperity by thwarting progress and fuelling displacement and conflict.


Dennis Tänzler, adelphi

Limited access to energy is a significant barrier to development and holds back efforts to improve living conditions in developing and emerging economies. Around the world, 1.1 billion people still do not have access to electricity, and 2.8 billion still rely on animal and crop waste, wood, charcoal and other solid fuels to cook their food and heat their homes.

Climate Change
Early Warning & Risk Analysis
Global Issues
Peter Stott, University of Exeter

As the earth’s climate warms, people face mounting threats from rising seas, and more intense and frequent storms, heatwaves, fires, and droughts. When these events hit, people want to understand whether they are connected to climate change. Linking climate change with heatwaves, storms and other events can help us prepare for a changing world, argues Peter Stott.