Over 20 national and state conservative groups are urging the Trump administration to reject an international agreement that aims to fix climate change by limiting the use of a chemical commonly found in refrigerators.
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In a letter sent Monday to President Trump, the groups, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and Heritage Action asked Trump to pull the U.S. out of an Obama-era agreement known as the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which aims to reduce emissions of global warming-causing hydrofluorocarbons used as a refrigerant.
The groups argued that the agreement would increase the cost to U.S. consumers, saying it “would impose restrictions on production of the affordable refrigerants currently used in most types of air conditioning and refrigeration units and necessitate their likely replacement with more expensive alternatives”.
The letter added: “The result would be higher costs for households, motorists, and businesses that rely on air conditioning and refrigeration”.
The Obama administration and environmentalists alike championed the United Nations treaty negotiated in 2016, which was created to help countries meet the emissions standards put forth in the Paris climate agreement. One hundred and seventy countries signed onto the agreement, which scientists expected could on its own help prevent a nearly 1 degree rise in temperatures by 2100.
Big businesses, including the U.S. refrigerator industry, are also supportive of the agreement, urging the Trump administration to stay committed to the deal because of the business potential of new regulations.
The industry hopes to convince the administration that staying in will create U.S. jobs due to the fact that the country is a leader in refrigerant products and the pact will likely drive new demand for their expertise globally.
A joint April report from trade groups Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy say that the deal will strengthen U.S. exports.
“Without Kigali ratification, growth opportunities will be lost along with the jobs to support that growth, the trade deficit will grow, and the U.S. share of global export markets will decline”, the report read.
In June 13 GOP senators, led by John Kennedy (La.) and Susan Collins(Maine), wrote to Trump asking him to submit the treaty amendment for Senate approval. They said the Kigali amendment would increase manufacturing jobs by 33,000 and boost exports by $4.8 billion.
However, other conservatives view the treaty, which was signed in Kigali, Rwanda, as a leftover from the Obama administration that should be done away with. The letter states that the “Kigali Amendment would do far more economic harm than environmental good”.
“Most studies have concluded that fully implementing the Kigali Amendment would reduce the global mean temperature by an unmeasurable amount by 2050”, it said.
Myron Ebell, director of CEI’s center for energy and environment, is a signatory to the letter. He previously ran Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency transition team and has long been supportive of the administration’s environmental deregulations.