Next month, more than 100 countries will meet to discuss a possible amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). These greenhouse gases, used in air conditioners and refrigerators around the world, are up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing climate change. Eliminating HFCs and simultaneously improving the energy efficiency of the redesigned cooling and refrigeration systems is the single greatest opportunity to tackle climate change since the historic Paris Agreement last year. This effort could avoid 1 degree Celsius of global warming by the end of the century.
With this in mind, the Heising-Simons Foundation is pleased to join a group of 19 philanthropic donors—including the Hewlett, MacArthur, Packard, Sea Change, and Barr foundations, among others—as part of $53 million in coordinated funding, to support energy efficiency efforts to complement the rapid phase-out of this potent gas.
Earlier this morning, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that this public-private partnership stands ready to assist countries in implementing a potential ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol next month, which would determine when and how countries phase down HFCs.
The foundations’ funding could provide technical assistance to various countries to bolster their energy efficiency efforts, enabling them to move more quickly and possibly double the climate benefits of phasing out HFCs alone. This could also help countries meet their commitments under the Paris agreement. Air conditioning use is growing rapidly in many parts of the world, and improved energy efficiency would save families and businesses money on their electric bills, boost the economy, and improve electric grid reliability.
Our Foundation has long had a focus on energy and the environment, with a Climate and Clean Energy grantmaking program that looks to protect people from the harmful impacts of climate change by accelerating cleaner and more efficient uses of energy. Rarely is there a single opportunity to make as much difference as this moment. Enabling this once-in-a-generation global redesign of key technologies to simultaneously boost efficiency and phase out harmful gases will yield huge pollution reductions and economic benefits.
The Heising-Simons Foundation is pleased to contribute up to $2 million to support energy efficiency efforts to complement implementation of an ambitious Montreal Protocol amendment. To learn more about today’s announcement, including a full list of donors, see the joint press release.