Decision by U.S. and China to combat climate change welcomed by UN Environment Programme

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HCFCs can contribute to ozone depletion if released into the atmosphere and have high global warming potential. Photo Credit: Shutterstock/Renmarc

The decision by the United States and China to cooperate in combating climate change by phasing out a group of synthetic chemicals has been welcomed by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced over the weekend during their retreat in California that they would be targeting Hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs.

This is a group of replacement chemicals for products such as refrigerators and foams for which there are already a range of climate and ozone-friendly alternatives.

HFCs are beginning to replace another group of chemicals known as hydrochloro-fluorocarbons or HCFCs which damage the ozone layer, the thin gassy layer around the Earth that filters out deadly levels of ultra-violet light from the sun.

The head of UNEP, Achim Steiner, says the announcement by the leaders of China and the United States "could signal a new and perhaps transformational chapter in international cooperation on climate change."

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 55″

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