The United States and China on Saturday agreed to "work together and with other countries" to reduce emissions of the so-called "super greenhouse gases," the hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) present in many electrical appliances.
After the meeting Saturday in California, U.S. President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping made a commitment "to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs," which have been used to substitute gases that affect the ozone layer.
Though HFCs do not attack the ozone layer, they contribute in great measure to the greenhouse effect and climate change, and continue to be used in refrigerators, air conditioning and industrial machinery, especially in developed countries.
"A global phase down of HFCs could potentially reduce some 90 gigatons of CO2 equivalent by 2050, equal to roughly two years worth of current global greenhouse gas emissions," the White House said in the communique announcing the accord with China.
During the last four years the United States, Canada and Mexico have proposed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol of 1987, which reached an agreement to do away with the use of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, and HFCs, which reduce the ozone layer.
Nonetheless, the use of HFCs began to grow as substitutes for CFCs.
The White House said Saturday that the accord with China to add HFCs to the Montreal Protocol is "an important new step to confront global climate change."
Obama and Xi met Friday and Saturday at a residential complex in Rancho Mirage, California, to discuss in a more private venue such bilateral matters as defense, trade, intellectual property and climate change. EFE