Strengthening the Montreal Protocol
The 1987 Montreal Protocol is one of the most successful international treaties ever enacted. Ratified by every member of the United Nations, the protocol phased out the use of another refrigerant and aerosol propellant: chloroflurocarbons. CFCs were rapidly depleting the ozone layer high in the atmosphere that shields us from the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet radiation. But the Montreal Protocol left a loophole: industry switched from CFCs to HFCs, leading to a 258 percent increase in their use since 1990.
Because HFCs are so effective at trapping heat, they are projected to account for 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. As a result, amending the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs is the single most effective thing we can do in the near term to avert dangerous climate change. An ambitious amendment to the Protocol could avoid 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century and help forestall some of the worst effects of climate change.
Tackling HFCs is a cost effective climate mitigation strategy and there are readily available alternatives to using HFCs, such a propane and ammonia. Transitioning away from HFCs also opens up opportunities to re-tool appliances to make them more energy efficient, which could double the climate benefits of phasing out HFCs and provide an economic boost to developing countries.
“This is public-private partnership at its best.” — U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry
Redstone helped design and scope a large fast-start fund that focused on technical assistance for air conditioning energy efficiency policies—an important unmet need for developing countries. Redstone helped recruit a broad array of funders to match the fast-start fund contributions by developed countries with philanthropic investments.
On September 22, 2016, a group of philanthropic donors announced the $53 million fund to transition away from HFCs and toward more efficient equipment. “The philanthropic component of this is the largest-ever private grant made for energy efficiency in this sector,” the White House said in a press release. The fast-start fund will make it much easier for developing nations to simultaneously fight climate change and advance sustainable economic development by delivering a faster phase out of HFCs and a quicker ramp up of energy efficiency measures that save money. Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, called the move “a monumental win for our global climate that can help the entire world avert some of climate change’s worst impacts.”