The Obama administration signed onto a deal over the weekend with nearly 200 countries to combat global warming by phasing out the refrigeration chemicals used in air-conditioners, even as industry scrambles to find replacement chemicals needed to keep homes cool and food fresh.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, who was key in securing the deal, said the chemicals represent potent greenhouse gas emissions, called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, that are causing harmful man-made climate change, and are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide.

"In a nutshell, these HFCs cool our homes and chill our food, but they are turning up the temperature of our planet," McCarthy said. "And over the next several years, HFC use is expected to not only grow — but multiply," and "that's why, this week in Rwanda, world leaders took a giant leap forward by agreeing to a global phase-down of these harmful gases."

The deal was agreed to in Kigali, Rwanda, and lauded by the administration as a key part in meeting the goals of the president's climate change agenda before his term is up this year. The EPA will also have to put in place regulations to specifically phase out the chemicals in the United States.

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