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(Kigali, 15-10-2016)

A majority of the world's nations meeting in Rwanda agreed, to a wide-reaching global deal on reducing greenhouse gases which are used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

"The amendment and decisions are adopted," Rwanda's Minister of Natural Resources Vincent Biruta announced to loud cheers, following overnight talks in the country's capital, Kigali.

The deal on limiting the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) divides countries into three groups with differing deadlines to scale back on the use of the factory-made gas, which can be 10,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide.

According to the pact, developed nations including the United States - the world's second-worst polluter - and many European countries will gradually reduce their HFC emissions by 2019.

A second group of over 100 developing nations, including China - the world's top polluter - will start reducing in 2024.

A third, smaller group of countries including India, Pakistan and some Gulf states will start later in 2028, after arguing that their economies need more time to grow. The date is three years earlier than India had first proposed.

HFCs were first introduced in the 1990s to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) after scientists realized they were destroying the ozone layer. The level in the upper stratosphere protects Earth from the Sun's harmful rays.

However, HFCs turned out to be catastrophic for global warming. Although they are safe for the ozone layer, they are thousands of times worse for trapping heat than carbon dioxide.


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