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HFC greenhouse gas deal 'buys time', Christian Aid says

The relief and development agency said nations have passed the first test since committing to limit global warming and reducing carbon emissions in the Paris Agreement last year.

Senior policy advisor, Benson Ireri, said: "Despite some long negotiations, they [the countries] have shown the global transition to a sustainable planet remains on course."

Leaders, including US Secretary of State John Kerry and Rwanda's President Paul Kagame (pictured above) agreed to cap and reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in air conditioners and refrigerators.

Executive director of the UN Environment Programme, Erik Solheim, said: "It is a clear statement by all world leaders that the green transformation started in Paris is irreversible and unstoppable."

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China joined more than 100 other developing countries in vowing to begin taking action against HFCs by 2024, however, India and a small number of other nations secured a later start date of 2028.

Clare Perry, UK climate campaign leader with the Environmental Investigation Agency, said: "Compromises had to be made, but 85% of developing countries have committed to the early schedule starting 2024, which is a very significant achievement."

Levels of HFCs are growing faster than any other climate pollutant, however, environmental groups hope the limits agreed in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, will help cut global warming by a half-degree Celsius by the year 2100.

There is concern island and African nations are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

The United Nations says the following meeting, in 2017, will determine how the multi-billion dollar cost of reducing HFCs will be met by countries.

Christian Aid said poorer countries will need sufficient funding through the Montreal Protocol's Multilateral Fund to invest in new technology to help reduce their use of HFCs.

Benson Ireri added: "It is essential that developed countries continue to provide more support to this fund.

"The greater the support and sharing of technological advancements, the quicker the shift will be to less polluting devices in developing countries."

"It's highly likely that innovation and market forces mean the world actually beats these targets."

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