UK signs up to deal to cut harmful global warming gas

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The UK has ratified a key agreement to limit potent greenhouse gases from appliances such as air conditioning units and fridges, the Government said.

The Kigali amendment to the UN Montreal Protocol commits countries to cutting "hydrofluorocarbon" gases (HFCs) by 85% between 2019 and 2036, in a move which it is hoped will avoid 0.5C of global warming by the end of the century.

Without the amendment, which was negotiated in the Rwandan capital in December 2016, the harmful greenhouse gases were projected to have risen by up to 11% by 2050.

The move to curb HFCs has been made under the Montreal Protocol, one of the most successful treaties ever agreed, which has phased out 98% of substances such as CFCs in aerosols which were found to be damaging the ozone layer.

Although HFCs do not harm the ozone layer, they are much more potent greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide, the main cause of rising global temperatures.

The UK is one of the first countries to ratify the Kigali amendment, which ministers said was a significant step in achieving goals under the Paris Agreement - the world's first comprehensive treaty on climate change - to limit rising temperatures.

Ferrybridge Power Station
The Kigali amendment aims to cut greenhouse gases by the same amount as 600 power stations would produce by 2050 (Empics/PA)

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: "Adopting this ambitious target marks the UK as a world leader in tackling climate change.

"This deal will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of around 70 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 - the same as more than 600 coal fired power stations would produce during that time.

"The UK, along with the rest of the EU, has already begun to phase down HFCs by 79% between 2015 and 2030.

"The Montreal Protocol will result in an additional UK reduction equivalent to around 44 million tonnes of carbon dioxide."