Addressing climate change has been one of the key objectives of the Administration of President Barack Obama. It took nearly eight years and a lot of hard work, but at last, 2016 -- President Obama’s final year in office -- has seen enormous strides in this effort.
The Obama Administration seeks to achieve three major goals: first, the entry into force of the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to keep the temperature rise well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels; second, addressing the growth of international aviation emissions; and finally, the gradual reduction of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs. These chemicals, which are commonly used in refrigeration, can have 10,000 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide.
All three of these goals were reached within a few weeks of each other.The Paris Agreement, which was adopted by nearly 200 countries last December, passed the last of two entry into force thresholds to into force in late September and will, in fact, enter into force on November 4.
In early October, the United Nations International Civil Aviation Organization agreed to for a global measure that will offset emissions from international civil aviation, ensuring that emissions from this growing sector don’t rise above 2020 levels.
And on October 15th, nearly 200 Parties of the Montreal Protocol agreed to an amendment that will reduce global HFC levels by 80 to 85 percent by the year 2047. As a result of this legally binding accord, temperatures could be decreased by as much as half a degree Celsius by the end of the century.
“Our community of nations finally understands the magnitude of what we are up against. I believe we’ve all learned that none of our nations, not one of us, is equipped to deal with this generational task all by ourselves,” said Secretary of State John Kerry.
“And I believe we all recognize that it is time to meet this global threat with all of the seriousness and all of the purpose and all of the commitment that it demands, and to do what we must do to urgently meet this need now, and to do so boldly.”