Over the past month, a growing chorus of Senate Republicans, conservative taxpayer groups and corporate executives has been urging President Trump to implement a major Obama-era policy to tackle climate change.
The issue at hand revolves around air-conditioners. In 2017, at a United Nations summit in Kigali, Rwanda, President Barack Obama’s administration agreed with 196 other countries to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, an extremely potent greenhouse gas used in air-conditioners, refrigerators and foams. The pact was an amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol meant to protect the ozone layer.
Experts say the policy could have a surprisingly large climate impact. With countries like China and India installing millions of new air-conditioners, HFC emissions were expected to skyrocket this century.
But for the United States to fully participate in these efforts, the Kigali amendment needs to be ratified by two-thirds of the Senate. Mr. Trump has not decided whether to submit the treaty for approval.
Dozens of American manufacturers have been pressing Mr. Trump to move forward. Companies like Honeywell, Dow Chemical and Johnson Controls are well positioned to produce next-generation air-conditioners and alternatives to HFCs, and they don’t want to lose out on a budding global market.
Last week, 34 executives from the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration industries wrote a letter to Mr. Trump urging him to submit the treaty for ratification. They didn’t mention “climate change” or “emissions” at all. Instead, they appealed to him on economic grounds: Ratifying the treaty, they said, would increase American exports by $5 billion and lead to 33,000 new manufacturing jobs.
If the United States doesn’t ratify the treaty, they wrote, countries like China will have an advantage in selling cleaner technologies to the rest of the world. “We believe the Kigali Amendment represents a chance to put America first,” the executives wrote.