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  • Kigali Agreement – Good for American Jobs

    Congress has an opportunity to move forward on something called the Kigali Amendment or the Kigali Agreement that is considered pro-industry, pro-jobs and something that will help the environment. There is wide controversy over the degree that any government can impact so called “climate change,” but there are a few common-sense measures that seem to have bipartisan support.

    The Kigali Agreement is an amendment to the Montreal Protocol that urges nations to reduce the manufacture of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by roughly 80-85% from baselines by 2045. This idea was agreed in October of 2016 by over 170 nations. The United States has yet to ratify the agreement that would have to come from the Trump Administration.

    According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the federal government is currently working to reduce the emissions by the federal government of these greenhouse gas producing emissions in an effort to use technology to be more efficient. According to the EPA,

    “Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are greenhouse gases (GHGs) commonly used by federal agencies in a wide variety of applications, including refrigeration, air-conditioning (AC), building insulation, fire extinguishing systems, and aerosols. HFCs have high global warming potential (GWP), raising concern about their impacts as they become increasingly used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances (ODS), and as economic growth spurs demand for new equipment, especially in the refrigeration/AC sector.”

    The agreement for the private sector to follow has significant support in the business community, because they have prepared for the change and have modified the manufacture of items that produce HFCs accordingly.

    According to media reports, the agreement is still being considered by the Trump Administration. The Hill reported on February 5, 2018 that

    President Trump hasn’t yet decided whether to support a treaty amendment that seeks to phase out the use of certain potent greenhouse gases, an adviser said. George David Banks, Trump’s adviser for international environmental policy, said at a Monday event that he and colleagues are still analyzing the 2016 pact to see if they’ll recommend that the president support it.”

    The Administration is still studying this proposal and they are on the fence whether to support, but many American companies are urging support because they have produced technology to help with the transition.

    This is one of the few ideas that has support on both sides of the aisle. Conservatives and Republicans have long advocated intelligent, effective environmental stewardship. Kigali not only places the U.S. as a leader in common sense environmental stewardship, it also provides the U.S. an economic and manufacturing advantage. Kigali gives American companies an advantage in technology, manufacturing, and investment which will lead to job creation and non-implementation may put manufacturing businesses and workers at a severe disadvantage in an already competitive international marketplace. Many U.S. manufacturing companies that employ the forgotten American worker stand behind Kigali and that may influence the America First policies of President Trump and the U.S. government to help implement these ideas.

    The business community has been vocal in support. Justin Worland wrote for Time on May 3, 2018 that “U.S. companies have traditionally led development of refrigerant products, used in air conditioning and other appliances, and the deal would create new demand for such expertise and products across the globe. If the U.S. does not ratify it, other countries could surpass the U.S. position as the global leader in the industry.”  The argument is that other countries will swoop in and take away the American share of these environmental friendly products.

    The article cites a report from the “trade groups Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, which counts large U.S. companies such as Dow and Carrier among its members, argues that the deal will ‘strengthen America’s exports and weaken the market for imported products.’”

    The report calculated that,

    “the broad HVACR industry, mobile air-conditioning, home appliances, insulating foams, medical metered- dose inhalers, aerosols, and other segments, plus fluorocarbon manufacture” creates a direct output of “$205 billion per year in products and services” and an indirect output of “ 494,000 jobs with a $36 billion per year payroll, and $126.5 billion per year in economic output” resulting in induced “economic activity is estimated to employ 1,463,000 people, with an $82 billion per year payroll and an additional output of $290 billion per year.”

    These are big numbers.

    Industries based on fluorocarbons play a large role in the U.S. economy and can help expand economic output with the change. The technologies used by these industries across the globe are signature American innovations. U.S. industry supports Kigali, urging the gradual introduction and commercialization of next-generation fluorocarbon technologies. It would be wise for the Trump Administration to weigh the economic benefits and the strong industry support of this change before making a final decision on whether to move forward on the agreement.


    S.C. Sherman

    Senior Editor

    Steve Sherman is an author, popular radio commentator, and former Iowa House candidate. His articles have appeared nationally in both print and online for Townhall, Human Events, Clash Daily, Washington Times, Washington Examiner, Red Alert Politics, Forbes, NRATV and others. All of his novels including his most recent tome, Lone Wolf Canyon, a modern day western that infuriates the left and all "Snowflakes," are available here.

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