UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday called on countries to strengthen climate protection by reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons, saying that the international community should "do more to protect our atmosphere".
"The world has changed since we last marked International Ozone Day," the secretary-general said in his message to mark the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, recalling that adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September last year and the Paris Agreement on climate change in December 2015.
"Now, we must turn ambition into action, and strengthen climate protection by harnessing the power of the Montreal Protocol (on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer) to make progress in slowing the near-term warming caused by hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the fastest growing of the greenhouse gases," he said.
The UN chief noted that though HFCs were widely adopted as an effective alternative to products that were damaging the ozone layer, particularly those used in refrigeration and air conditioning, it is now scientifically proven that while HFCs have greatly reduced the threat to the ozone layer, they are an extremely potent greenhouse gas.
The reduction of the use of HFCs will bring considerable benefits as well as support the implementation of the Paris Agreement, the secretary-general said, calling upon the countries to take advantage of the next month’s meeting in Rwanda where discussions will be aimed at reaching a global consensus on phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.
The use of the Montreal Protocol regime to phase down HFCs would complement efforts to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions under the UNFCCC process, he said.
"On this International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, let us remember how much has already been accomplished, and commit to do more to protect our atmosphere," he said.
"By working together, we can build a safer, healthier, more prosperous and resilient world for all people while protecting our planet, our only home."
In 1994, the UN General Assembly proclaimed Sept. 16 the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorating the date of the signing, in 1987, of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.