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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States, Canada, and Mexico have proposed to amend a landmark global pact protecting the ozone layer to fight emissions of a refrigerant chemical thousands of times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the U.S. EPA said on Thursday.

The proposal would expand the Montreal Protocol to phase down emissions of hydroflourocarbons, also known as HFCs, which are up to 14,000 times more damaging to the planet's climate system than carbon dioxide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said.

"Reducing HFCs would help slow climate change and curb potential public health impacts," the EPA said in a release.

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