September 25, 2022

Volume XII, Number 268

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September 23, 2022

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September 22, 2022

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U.S. Senate Approves Kigali Amendments Governing HFC Emissions

On Wednesday, September 21, 2022, the U.S. Senate gave its advice and consent to the ratification of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer by a bipartisan vote of 69-27. The Kigali Amendment requires parties to participate in a global “phase down” of the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that are widely used in appliances such as air conditioners as an alternative to chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which were largely phased out under the original Montreal Protocol and subsequent amendments. 

Wednesday’s Senate action will have little direct legal impact domestically because the United States has already implemented an HFC phase down program under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (the AIM Act) that mirrors the requirements of the Kigali Amendment. EPA currently has two proposed rules under the AIM Act that OMB is reviewing, and that would continue the United States’ curtailment of HFCs at home.

Ratification is valuable as a symbol of continued U.S. commitment to the Montreal Protocol and to the GHG reductions that the Kigali Amendment achieves; this is the first global climate change agreement since the 1992 Framework Convention on Climate Change to which the Senate has given advice and consent to U.S. ratification. It also has important international legal consequences because (once the President submits the U.S. ratification), the United States will become a party to the amendment and will not be subject to the Article 4 trade restrictions prohibiting trade with non-Parties. Those restrictions had not yet entered into force but would have eventually prevented the United States from trading HFCs with countries that had ratified the Amendment.

U.S. ratification of the Kigali Amendment will mark a major step for incorporating multilateral environmental agreements into domestic law. The United States remains a non-party to several major multilateral environmental agreements, including the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, the Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, and the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants.

© 2022 Beveridge & Diamond PC National Law Review, Volume XII, Number 266
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About this Author

Paul E. Hagen Environmental Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Washington, DC
Principal

Paul helps clients navigate increasingly complex environmental requirements governing global supply chains and products across their life-cycle.

He works with leading companies to anticipate and comply with product-related environmental requirements in the U.S. and in key markets worldwide. He has represented U.S. business interests in the negotiation and implementation of regional and global environmental agreements that drive national legislation and the circular economy.

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) 

Paul advises companies on compliance...

202-789-6022
K. Russell LaMotte Environmental Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Washington, DC
Principal

Russ helps global companies navigate international environmental regulatory regimes and develop product compliance and market-access strategies.

He served for over ten years as an international lawyer at the United States Department of State, representing the U.S. Government in designing, negotiating, or implementing most of the major multilateral environmental and oceans agreements. His experience and representative matters include: 

Chemicals, Substances in Articles, and Product-Related Environmental Compliance

  • Advising chemicals, pesticides,...
202-789-6080
Jackson Garrity Environmental Lawyer Beveridge and Diamond
Associate

Jackson concentrates his practice on litigation, regulatory compliance, and natural resources management.

He advises clients on regulatory compliance, administrative enforcement actions, and civil litigation under state and federal regulations including the Clean Air Act, Administrative Procedure Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Federal Land Policy and Management Act. Jackson also aids clients in complying with international agreements such as the Montreal Protocol...

202-789-6003
Nicole J. Waxman Environmental Litigation Attorney Beveridge & Diamond Washington, DC
Associate

Nicole focuses on complex environmental litigation and a diverse array of regulatory matters.

Nicole untangles complex environmental law matters into manageable tasks to ensure that clients achieve their desired outcomes. She has experience with a variety of issues arising under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and handles regulatory compliance issues related to mobile source emissions under the Clean Air Act (CAA).

Prior to joining B&D, Nicole clerked in the civil litigation practice area of a mid-Atlantic law firm....

202-789-6081
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