The Administration is taking its first step to combat Climate Change through rule making. The EPA is phasing out use of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) production and use in refrigerators and air condition units.
The proposed rule follows through on a law Congress passed in December authorizing a 15-year phaseout of HFCs. The new rule is intended to decrease U.S. production and use of the gases by 85% over the next 15 years, part of a global phaseout intended to slow climate change. HFCs are considered a major driver of global warming and are being targeted worldwide. President Joe Biden has pledged to embrace a 2016 global agreement to reduce HFCs. “With this proposal, EPA is taking another significant step under President Biden’s ambitious agenda to address the climate crisis,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement Monday. “By phasing down HFCs, which can be hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the planet, EPA is taking a major action to help keep global temperature rise in check.” he phasedown of HFCs is widely supported by the business community, Regan said, and “will help promote American leadership in innovation and manufacturing of new climate-safe products. Put simply, this action is good for our planet and our economy.”pbs.org/newshour
The pandemic and spending bill signed by President Trump in December told the EPA to reduce the use and production of the HFC’s. It was a bipartisan bill favored also by the industry. The AIM Act also dealt with the storage and capture of carbon dioxide.
Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, praised the EPA rule and said the United States was joining the rest of the world in reducing the use of HFCs, helping to avoid the worst effects of global warming. “Passing the AIM Act was a momentous climate achievement that will help save our planet, and today we are one step closer to its benefits being a reality,” Carper said.
The EPA estimates that this action will save nearly $284 billion over the next three decades and prevent the equivalent of 187 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The emissions saving is comparable to saving the emissions from every 7th car. President Biden also issued an Executive Order in January embracing the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol which directs the State Department to submit it to congress for ratification and this would work to ban HFC’s world wide.