Arctic Gets Oil Reprieve, Help From Montreal Protocol

The environmental community is cheering after the Obama Administration made an unexpected announcement – with Shell out of the Arctic, there will be no leases to drill for oil for the remainder of his presidency. 

But the Interior Department didn’t base the decision on its environmental mission. Instead, the announcement starts this way: "In light of current market conditions [low oil prices] and low industry interest," two lease sales planned for the next two years are cancelled.  

Two lease sales are still planned between 2017-22. 

Arctic melting

HFC Announcement

The US, EU, China, India and Brazil are working on an international agreement to phase out HFCs as an outcome of the Montreal Protocol meeting in Dubai, November 1-5.

In July, the US EPA issued regulations prohibiting the use of certain HFCs where safer, more "climate-friendly" alternatives are available. And President Obama just announced executive orders and the results of private sector commitments that will bring down these climate-forcing greenhouse gases substantially. 

Primarily used in air conditioning, refrigeration, and foam insulation, HFCs can be 10,000 times more potent than carbon in causing climate change. Under business as usual scenarios, their use would triple by 2030, says the White House. Halting HFC emissions would reduce global temperature rise by a crucial 0.5°C, closing the gap on country pledges.

While it’s great that more companies are making climate commitments, they still aren’t advocating for action in Congress, and that’s critical in changing policies, points out Senator Whitehouse (D-RI). "The massive American corporate lobbying effort in Congress is at best silent on climate change, and at worst adamantly hostile," largely because of the trade associations they support.

Read our article, Critical Agreement Reached Between US, China: Eliminate HFC Climate Forcers.

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