Target: U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
Goal: Eliminate harmful gas with thousands of times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.
Delegates from around 150 countries are meeting in Rwanda to discuss rapidly cutting out use of the fastest growing greenhouse gas, which greatly exacerbates global warming. Nations are divided regarding the speed of the proposed phase-out, and failure to reach an agreement could have devastating consequences for our climate.
The greenhouse gas in question is hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). HFC gases are cooling chemicals used for refrigeration and air conditioners, and were introduced almost 30 years ago as a less harmful alternative for the ozone layer. While the ozone layer has recovered as a result, HFCs have caused a huge increase in global warming — they are several thousand times better at trapping heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide. They have also been used more and more as the demand for air conditioning increases in countries with developing economies. However, dozens of alternatives to HFCs are emerging, so the elimination of this chemical is feasible.
Following the Paris climate agreement — which aims to keep temperature rises low — it is more urgent than ever that swift action be taken. According to scientists, quickly reducing HFCs could slow climate change dramatically, while failing to act would mean more extreme droughts and storms like the hurricane that killed 1,000 people in Haiti. While most developed countries are in favor of an earlier cut-off date for the elimination of HFCs, other nations like India (a large manufacturer of these gases) favor a later cut-off for poorer nations so as not to stifle economic growth.
It is vital that these negotiations end in an agreement between our leaders. Sign below and demand that these nations come to a compromise to protect our planet.
Dear Secretary General Ki-moon,
Although many nations at the conference in Rwanda disagree about the speed at which HFC gases should be cut out, it must be a priority to reach a compromise and back this agreement. The safety of our planet needs to come first, and the consequences of failing to implement this plan in a timely manner could be dire.
HFCs are the fastest growing of the greenhouse gases, and hugely exacerbate global warming. A quick reduction of these gases would mean a significant slow-down in climate change, while failure to do so would result in more disasters like the storm that killed so many in Haiti. Alternatives to HFCs for use in refrigerators and air conditioners have been developed, so reducing HFCs is practical and doable. Protecting our planet must be the main consideration and goal in these negotiations. I urge you to prioritize a swift agreement between the nations, and the backing and implementation of this plan to cut out HFCs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Sky Noir