US senators approve the Kigali amendment by 69-27 votes, hailed by environmentalists as a welcome step to tackle the climate crisis.
The United States Senate passed an amendment to an international environmental treaty that would phase out the use of global warming greenhouse gases, a move hailed as an important step in tackling the climate crisis.
In a vote of 69-27 on Wednesday, the Senate approved the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which pledged to end the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), commonly used in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration.
The Montreal Agreement, a global treaty dating from 1987, successfully ended the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer.
It has been amended several times to introduce stricter environmental regulations, including a push for materials that do not deplete the ozone layer.
The Kigali amendment, named after the capital of Rwanda where it was finalized, was passed in 2016.
Then-US President Barack Obama supported the measure in the final weeks of his presidency, but his successor Donald Trump, who withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, did not submit the treaty to the Senate for approval.
In the United States, ratification of a treaty requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate.
On Monday, more than 20 Republican senators joined Democrats in the evenly divided chamber in a rare show of duality.
President Joe Biden, who formally asked the Senate to approve the amendment late last year, praised the vote as “historic” and said Washington “is back at the table on the fight against climate change.”
“By ratifying the Kigali Amendment, we can lead the clean technology market of the future by innovating and manufacturing these technologies here in America,” Biden said in a statement.
“Ratification will boost the growth of manufacturing jobs, strengthen US competitiveness and advance global efforts to fight the climate crisis.”
Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the amendment’s ratification an “important step” that will help fight climate change and create jobs in the US.
“It’s a win-win situation that will go a long way in combating global warming while creating high-paying American jobs,” Schumer wrote on Twitter.
Marco Rubio, one of the Republican senators who voted for the treaty change, said US manufacturers are already phasing out the use of HFCs.
“The ratification of the Kigali amendment will not change US law, but it will bring significant benefits to US companies that manufacture and innovate equipment in heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration by opening additional export markets,” he said in a statement. a statement.
Nearly 140 countries had previously ratified the amendment.