For years we have known that some chemicals used in air-conditioners as well as refrigerators were destroying the environment. Now, a deal has finally been struck between 170 countries that will cut the use of these chemicals, and that is good news for Earth,
The big difference between the Paris accords on the climate and this one was that this one targets only one gas, the HFCs which are the chemical coolants used in the air-conditioners and the refrigerators. These HFCs are a small percentage of all greenhouse gases but as a supercharged gas they are much more dangerous to the environment trapping 1,000 times the heat-trapping ability of carbon dioxide.
The great thing about this deal is that contrary to the Paris accords that are mostly voluntary, this deal has specific targets as well as trade sanctions to punish offenders. Rich countries will also help poorer ones by helping to finance the transition.
This deal thought could have been more stringent in its implementation, but poorer countries objected to the proposed plan. In India, millions of people are on the verge of being able to afford those air-conditioners. To tell them that they would have to wait more or to change to something else was unpalatable.
As always, compromises had to be made between rich and poor countries. The wealthy nations will move more quickly on this issue while poorer countries will take their time to do so. In the end the world will be divided into three tracks; the rich world like Canada and the United States will freeze the production and consumption of HFCs by 2018. The rest of the world will freeze HFC use by 2024 while a smaller group of hottest countries like India will freeze the HFC by 2028.
It was clear that a one size fits all solution was not possible, so a compromise on the targets for freezing and reducing these gases was the best alternative. For the planet, such a deal means that combined with the imperfect Paris accords the climate of the earth will be better in the future and will ensure our survival for the long-term.