Well folks it’s been another few months into 2018 and there still has been no update or news on rather or not the United States will be adopting the Kigali Amendment. For those of you who don’t know, the Kigali Amendment was an addendum to the ever famous Montreal Protocol. While the Montreal Protocol focused on phasing out HCFCs and CFC refrigerants like R-12 and R-22 the Kigali Amendment has set it’s sights on the very popular HFC refrigerants such as R-410A, R-404A, R-125, R-134a, and many more. While the amendment was signed back in October of 2016 there are still some countries who have not ratified it yet, the United States being one of them.
At the time of the signing there were over one-hundred countries present in Kigali, Rwanda. As I write this article today there have been thirty-one countries that have ratified the amendment and begun to move forward with the phase downs and phase outs of HFC refrigerants. The latest of these countries to ratify was France back in March of this year. Just before them we had Ireland and the Netherlands.
The question now is will the United States move forward with this amendment? In order for this amendment to become law it has to be ratified by the United States’ Senate but before it can even get to the Senate the Trump Administration has to hand it off. At this time no action has been taken by the Trump Team. They are sitting on it for lack of a better term. Towards the end of 2017 an official stated that Trump was in support of Kigali but then a few months later into 2018 these remarks were walked back by another spokesperson. At this point no one knows for sure.
There is uncertainty in the air though folks. In the summer of last year the Environmental Protection Agency’s own HFC regulations were overturned by a Federal Court. Just a few weeks back the EPA announced that they were withdrawing their SNAP Rule 20 regulations. (I wrote an article about this which can be found by clicking here.) On top of that the Trump Administration announced a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement. The rumor around DC is that Trump will approve or deny something based on rather or not it will create jobs. The question is will the Kigali Amendment create jobs, or will it’s regulations hurt the industry?
Jobs Jobs Jobs!
There has been a big push from all over the industry to enact the Kigali Amendment here in the States. In fact the intensity of the push has only increased since the EPA lost their battle against Mexichem and Arkema and their SNAP Rule 20 program. Two groups that have been lobbying for the Kigali Amendment are the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy and the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute. (AHRI.)
Just last week these two groups published a study titled, The ‘Economic Impacts of US Ratification of the Kigali Amendment‘. Now before I get into what this study said lets first understand why this article came about. Everyone knows that Trump is for jobs rather they be coal, oil, or whatever. If it creates jobs then he’s for it. That is what got him elected. So, the people behind this study took this mindset to heart and set forth with the report.
The report states that the Kigali Amendment and all that comes with it will lead to job creation. It is said to strengthen our exports and weaken the imports. I take from this that they mean we will be importing less and less HFC refrigerants from countries like China and we will be exporting more and more refrigerant alternatives like the new HFO refrigerants from Chemours/Honeywell.
The other pro-job argument here is that by mandating the phase down of HFCs companies and leaders will have to adapt and innovate to more climate friendly alternatives. This innovation and discovery period will cause job growth. Within this report an estimated number of thirty-three thousand jobs are to be created by 2027 if the Kigali Amendment was adopted. If you count the indirect and ancillary effects of the amendment then the number of estimated jobs balloons up to one-hundred and fifty-thousand. On top of that there is an estimated twenty-billion increase in value added and over a ten billion increase in labor income. That’s a lot of numbers, but will they come to fruition?
Now we all know why this report came out. It is another attempt to get the Trump Administration to ‘see the light.’ The question now though is will this latest tactic work, or will Trump see it as a ploy to get him to move the Kigali Amendment forward? The report is still fairly new as it only came out towards the end of April. At this point it’s too early to tell if it will have any affect on Trump’s opinion or not.
If we do not end up ratifying the Kigali Amendment there are always alternatives out there. The EPA announced a bit ago that they were reforming their current HFC rules so that they would be in compliance with the court’s ruling. On top of that you have California, and soon other states, that have decided to move forward with their own HFC phase down plans. Regardless if we get the Kigali I can safely say that HFCs will be phase down soon either through a treaty, a law, a EPA regulation, or through States’ rights.