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WASHINGTON-The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposes to phase down production and usage of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), highly potent greenhouse gases widely used in refrigerators and air conditioners, in the first Biden administration regulation aimed at mitigating climate change.

The new rule implements a law passed by Congress in December that calls for a 15-year phaseout of HFCs. The new regulation aims to reduce US production and use of greenhouse gases by 85% over the next 15 years, as part of a global phaseout aimed at slowing climate change.HFCs are seen as a major driver and are targeted worldwide for global warming. President Joe Biden of the United States (US) pledged to adopt a global reduction agreement in 2016.

“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 on 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.’’
Regan said that the phased downward development of HFCs is widely supported by the business community and will “foster American leadership in the development and production of new climate safe products. This is simply good for our planet and for our economy.” Simply put

Refrigerator Coolant Gases
Image Source: Star Tribune

In December, an immense pandemic relief and expenditure bill adopted by Congress and signed by former President Donald Trump leads EPO to significantly reduce production and use of HFCs. The measure received broad support from both sides and was recognized as at least ten years ago’s most important climate change law.
Apart from targeting HFCs, the so-called American Innovation and Manufacture Act also supports technologies for the capture and storage of carbon dioxide from power plants and manufacturing facilities and requires the use of cars and other vehicles to reduce diesel emissions.
Senator Tom Carper, a Democrat from Delaware who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, applauded the EPA rule and stated that the United States was joining the rest of the world in limiting HFC use, thus assisting in avoiding 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 in a statement.

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The R-La company Carper and Sen John Kennedy advanced a proposal to provide US companies with the necessary regulatory certainty to manufacture “next generation” coolants as an alternative to HFCs. Both men represent countries where chemical companies produce alternative coolants.

A unique alliance, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Chemicals Council and the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, which represented companies that produce residential and commercial air conditioning, water heating and commercial cooling equipment, supported the HFC provision.

The industry has been using alternative refrigerants for a long time and has pushed for a federal standard that prevents a patchwork of state regulations and laws.

Refrigerator Coolant Gases
Image Source:

“With the creation of new manufacturing employment and a growing global market share for climate control and cooling products, EPA proposals will sharply reduce a significant greenhouse gas source,” said Chris Jahn, Chairman of the American Chimics Council. The Board of Directors includes Honeywell, Chemours and Arkema.
According to the community, these and other companies have established successful alternatives to HFCs for air conditioning and refrigeration.

The Natural Resources Defense Council’s David Doniger, a senior environment and clean-energy official, said the EPA rule would provide “enormous public health and climate benefits to all Americans.”

Doniger said that replacing HFCs with better, commercially available alternatives “is a crucial and totally doable first step to head off the worst of the climate crisis… that will save industry money in the bargain.”The EPA has estimated that, over the next three decades, almost USD 284 billion will be saved by the proposed rule and the amount of carbon dioxide emissions that equals 187 million metric tons will prevent approximately the same amount as greenhouse gas emissions from one out of every seven U.S. cars.

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The 2016 Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol on the Pollution of Ozone in 1987 was issued by Biden in January by executive order. The amendment calls for HFCs to be reduced by 85 percent by 2036 from the US and other large industrialized countries. The State Department is directed by the Order of Biden to prepare documents for formal ratification for the submission of the Senate Amendment.


Source: Borneo Bulletin

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