Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK) introduced an amendment declaring that China is not a developing country and should not be treated by the UN or other intergovernmental organizations as such. The amendment would also require the Secretary of State to propose the removal of China’s designation as a developing nation under the Kigali Amendment. Sen. Lee’s amendment passed the Senate by a unanimous roll call vote.
The Kigali Amendment restricts supplies of compounds called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are the refrigerants used in most air conditioning and refrigeration systems. The rationale is that HFCs leaking out of equipment and into the atmosphere contribute to climate change.
Treating China as a developing country under the treaty gives it an unfair advantage in the existing HFC market. Further, it allows China to continue production and undercut the HFC market well into the 2040s. As the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, China has a long history of disregarding environmental standards and has continually increased its emissions and investments in coal-fired power plants since the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
Of the Amendment, Sen. Lee said, “This is part of a conspicuous trend on China’s part. China wants to get ahead by playing by a different set of rules than the rest of the world. We know China ignores the rules and has little respect for international norms, and yet we continue to allow them to dominate markets with the financial support of American taxpayer dollars.