All nations including US will ratify 2016 climate deal: UNEP

All nations including the US and India will certainly ratify a key 2016 climate deal, hugely important for fighting climate change, UN Environment Chief Erik Solheim said.

About 200 nations, including India, the US and China, had struck a legally-binding deal in the Rwandan capital Kigali in 2016 after intense negotiations to phase down climate-damaging refrigerant gas hydrofluorocarbons known as HFCs that have global warming potential thousand times more than carbon dioxide.

The deal, formally known as the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, is now open for ratification and 35 nations have ratified it so far.

“The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol will for sure be ratified by all nations,” Solheim told PTI in an interview here.

The statement of the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) came amid concerns over the actions of the Donald Trump administration.

The Trump administration had pulled out of the key Paris Climate Change agreement, landmark treaty to cut carbon emissions,in June 2017.

Both Paris and Kigali agreements were signed during Barack Obama’s presidency.

The UNEP chief said, “The United States will ratify the the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol as it is in the interest of American business” and President Trump would listen to the industry.

The Kigali agreement will come into force on January 1, 2019.

However, key global players including the US, China and India have not ratified the agreement so far.

“We are very very positive to the number of states which have ratified (the deal) because it is happening very fast compared to other treaties.”

“India will now ratify, also the United States for their positive signals because cooling business of the United States also see this is in their very clear interest. It is good for environment,” Solheim said.

The UNEP chief, currently visiting India, said he was sure that India, the key driver of the amendment to the Protocol, will ratify it.

He said he would talk to Indian authorities about it.

The agreement reached by 197 parties on the amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is expected to prevent a global temperature rise of up to 0.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, while continuing to protect the ozone layer

According to the amendment, developed nations will reduce HFC use first, followed by China

India and nine other nations of South and West Asia will follow suit

Overall, the deal is expected to reduce HFC use by 85 per cent by the year 2045.

“Phase down of HFCs will happen faster than the people believe and faster than the agreement,” the UNEP chief said.

He said, “Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer,which is the platform, is the best to all environment agreement made in the whole history.”

“Every nation has delivered. You see the ozone layer coming back. Now we decided to phase out climate gases, which is very good. The next big step is to make the cooling industry much more energy efficient,” he said.

Solheim was in the city to visit the Cochin International Airport, the world’s first fully solar-powered airport.