Energy & Environment

GOP senators push Trump to submit pollution treaty amendment for Senate approval

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A group of Republicans senators is pushing President Trump to let them approve a treaty amendment meant to cut emissions of certain greenhouse gases.

The Obama administration helped negotiate the Kigali amendment in 2016, meant to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) around the world. HFCs are used mainly in refrigeration and air conditioning and are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in warming the atmosphere.

But Trump still hasn’t decided whether he supports it, in which case he would have to send it to the Senate for ratification.


The 13 GOP senators, led by John Kennedy (La.) and Susan Collins (Maine), said the amendment would help domestic companies by leveling the playing field worldwide and giving them long-term certainty on what chemicals to use going forward.

“By sending this amendment to the Senate, you will help secure America’s place as the global leader in several manufacturing industries, and in turn give American workers and advantage against their competitors in the international marketplace,” the senators wrote.

They said the Kigali amendment would increase manufacturing jobs by 33,000 and boost exports by $4.8 billion.

George David Banks, who at the time was Trump’s top adviser for international environmental policy, told a forum in February that the White House was still analyzing the amendment.

“While the administration recognizes that the amendment enjoys broad industry support, we need to carefully think this through and do our best to understand the economic, legal, political, the environmental aspects of the amendment,” said Banks, who has since resigned.

“Before we provide a recommendation to the president, we will need to have a really — really good economic information, we’re going to have to have a real command of it.”

The White House has made no indication that that position has changed and did not respond to a request for comment.

The policy has the support of numerous major companies and the air conditioning and refrigeration industries, as well as environmental advocates.

But some conservatives say it would increase costs without a comparable benefit.

The Kigali amendment would add to the Montreal Protocol, which was reached in 1987 to cut emissions that harm the ozone layer.

HFCs became popular after that treaty as an ozone-friendly alternative to hydrochlorofluorocarbons, but HFCs were later found to be potent greenhouse gases.

Tags Air pollution Donald Trump George David Banks greenhouse gases John Kennedy Susan Collins
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