WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to ratifying the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
In 2020, Barrasso helped pass a bipartisan bill to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) domestically and argues it’s unnecessary for America to sign onto additional treaty obligations at the United Nations. Barrasso also highlights his amendment that will condition Senate approval of Kigali on the removal of China being defined as a developing country.
Excerpts from Sen. Barrasso’s remarks:
“I come to the floor to oppose the Kigali amendment, the United Nations treaty under consideration in this body today.
“Two years ago, the United States Senate passed a bipartisan bill to reduce hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, domestically. We passed and signed it into law.
“These HFC gases are used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers, and insulation. HFCs contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
“I worked in a bipartisan way to build a coalition of senators to pass the bill. Two years later, the law is still going into effect. Parts of the law are still being implemented.
“Yet now we are being asked to sign onto treaty obligations at the United Nations that I believe are solely unnecessary.
“We’ve already passed bipartisan legislation to reduce HFC consumption. It is already the law of the land.
“Many of the benefits and jobs being touted are from U.S. innovations and our domestic legislation – not ratification of Kigali.
“We did it here, we did it right. We don’t need to get entangled in another United Nations treaty.
“Our own laws can be amended, repealed, or replaced. Depending on the impacts and costs, the U.S. can make changes quickly.
“It is much harder if not impossible to change international treaties. In fact, there is no withdrawal clause in the Kigali amendment.
“This treaty is especially bad because it doubles down on the practice of treating China as a developing country. The key word is developing.
“China is not a developing country. But this treaty says they are a developing country and it makes a big difference in terms of the treaty and the way that China is treated internationally.
“This gives China special treatment and they don’t deserve it. Under this treaty, China would get an extra decade to produce HFCs.
“This places the United States at a competitive disadvantage to China for 10 additional years.
“The U.S. would also be expected to give more American tax dollars to a UN multilateral fund that’s set aside for developing nations.
“They want to treat China like a developing country. This would send more U.S. dollars to China. The U.S. is already the largest contributor to this fund.
“Nearly $1 billion American tax dollars have already gone into this United Nations slush fund.
“Has China contributed? No, more than $1.4 billion from the fund has already gone to China that we have contributed to, because we are developed nation and China legally by this treaty is still developing.
“When you take a look at the debt that we have as a nation and you talk to any high school class and you ask: who are we borrowing this money from? They say we are borrowing it from China.
“We borrow from China, to give to the Multilateral Fund under the Montreal Protocol so the fund can give it to China. So we can go further into debt to China.
“This makes zero sense. Even to the high school kids it makes zero sense. With Kigali, it will mean more and more American tax dollars going to communist China.
“This is happening despite everyone knowing China is not a developing country and shouldn’t be labeled or treated as a developing country.
“China is the second largest economy in the world. China is our greatest economic and geopolitical rival.
“The United States should not let China play by a special set of rules that are designed to give a helping hand to truly developing nations.
“Yet, this is exactly what is outlined in the Kigali amendment. This is why I filed my amendment.
“My amendment says: the U.S. will not ratify the treaty until China is defined as
a developed country. Not a developing country. No special treatment for China.
“So senators have some decisions to make. Are you going to vote to allow China to play by a different set of rules?
“Are you going to vote to put America at a competitive disadvantage?
“Are you going to vote to continue to give American tax dollars to China?
“Democrats will say this is not about China this is about HFCs. Again: we have already passed bipartisan legislation to reduce HFCs.
“The law is still going into effect. There is no excuse for any senator to give China a handout at the expense of the American taxpayer and American hardworking families.
“We should not outsource our environmental policy.
“I urge my colleagues to support my amendment and once again say no special treatment for China.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks on the Kigali Amendment.