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EPA rule for phasing out gases used in refrigerators, coolants

WASHINGTON (AP) – In Biden’s first rule on climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a gradual reduction in the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons, high-power greenhouse gases often used in refrigerators and air conditioners.

The proposed rule follows a congressional law passed in December authorizing the 15-year termination of HFCs. The new rule aims to reduce gas production and use in the United States by 85% over the next 15 years, part of a global elimination designed to slow climate change.

HFCs are considered a major driver of global warming and are targeted worldwide. President Joe Biden has pledged to adopt a 201

6 global agreement to reduce them.

“With this proposal, the EPA is taking another significant step under President Biden’s ambitious program to tackle the climate crisis,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement Monday. “By phasing out HFCs, which can be hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide as the planet warms, the EPA is taking key steps to help keep global temperatures rising.”

The phasing out of HFC has been widely supported by the business community, Regan said, and “will help promote American leadership in innovation and the production of new climate-safe products.” Simply put, this action is good for our planet and our economy. “

The huge pandemic relief and spending bill passed by Congress in December and signed by former President Donald Trump directs the EPA to sharply reduce the production and use of HFCs. The measure has won widespread support from both sides and has been hailed as the most important law on climate change for at least a decade.

In addition to targeting HFCs, the so-called The American Innovation and Manufacturing or AIM Act also promotes technologies for capturing and storing carbon dioxide produced by power plants and manufacturing plants, and calls for a reduction in diesel emissions from buses and other vehicles.

Delaware Sen. Tom Carper, a Democrat who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, praised the EPA rule and said the United States is joining the rest of the world in reducing HFC use, helping to avoid the worst effects of global warming.

“The passage of the AIM Act was an important achievement in the climate that will help save our planet, and today we are one step closer to its benefits, which are a reality,” Carper said in a statement.

Carper and Sen. John F. Kennedy, R-La., Have pushed for the HFC proposal, which they say will give U.S. companies the regulatory certainty needed to produce next-generation coolants as an alternative to HFC. Both men represent countries inhabited by chemical companies producing alternative refrigerants.

The provision of HFC was supported by an unusual coalition that included large environmental and business groups, including the National Manufacturers Association, the American Council of Chemistry and the Institute of Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration, representing companies producing air conditioners for domestic and commercial air conditioners. water heaters and commercial refrigeration equipment.

The industry has long moved toward the use of alternative refrigerants and is pushing for a federal standard to avoid confusing state laws and regulations.

EPA’s proposal will drastically reduce a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, while creating new jobs in manufacturing and increasing our nation’s share of the global air conditioning and refrigeration market, “said the chairman of the US Chemicals Council. Chris Ian. The board represents large companies, including Honeywell, Chemours and Arkema.

These companies and others have developed effective alternatives to HFC for air conditioning and refrigeration, the group said.

David Doniger, a senior climate and clean energy official at the Council for the Protection of Natural Resources, said the EPA rule would provide “huge public health and climate benefits for all Americans.”

Replacing HFCs with safer, commercially available alternatives “is a critical and fully feasible first step in overcoming the worst of the climate crisis … which will save the industry money,” Doniger said.

The EPA estimates that the proposed rule would save nearly $ 284 billion over the next three decades and prevent the equivalent of 187 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, roughly equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of one in seven vehicles registered in the United States.

In January, Biden issued an enforcement order covering the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Ozone Pollution. The amendment calls on the United States and other major industrialized countries to reduce HFCs by 85% by 2036. Biden’s order directs the State Department to prepare documents to submit the amendment to the Senate for formal ratification.

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