An environmentalist recycles an old refrigerator at a recycling plant on August 12, 2009 in Livonia, Michigan.
Pictures: Bill Pugliano (Getty Images)
The Biden administration is pushing for hydrofluorocarbons, a very powerful side of greenhouse gases Used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers and building insulation.
On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed new rules to reduce the use of these chemicals by 85% over the next 15 years. It’s the agency The first rule proposes change It will soon be submitted to the Federal Register for publication under the Beadon administration.
Changing the rules makes one better The main promise The American Innovation and Production Act, which was passed by Congress last December with bipartisan approval.
“Simply put, this system is good for our planet and our economy,” EPA Administrator Michael Reagan said in a statement.
From a climate perspective, HFCs are incredibly dangerous. Pound to pound, they give the planet 11,700 times more heat than carbon dioxide. EPA Guess The new rules will enable the U.S. to avoid 4.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide – the equivalent of almost three years of U.S. power sector emissions at the 2019 level. In fact, it only said in 20336, the final year of the reduction plan, that the rule would prevent emissions “equal to one in seven greenhouse gas emissions per year.”
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“We expect a lot more from the EPA [on HFCs] Coming out in the future, “said Dr. Kristen Tadnio, Senior Climate and Energy Consultant at the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development.” It’s really just the beginning.
The use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, has been widespread since the 1960s when world leaders sought to adopt another similarly effective class of measures known as the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty widely regarded as one of the most successful. Done. That was good; CFCs were responsible for huge holes in the ozone layer. The problem is that manufacturers began using CFC’s closest cousin, HFC, to replace ozone-depleting compounds.
In 2012, governments around the world approved the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol in an effort to address HFCs. Former President Donald Trump Refuses to sign it When it went into effect in 2019, President Joe Biden plans to send it to the Senate for approval and hopes to have it approved this year. United Nations Found That “if fully supported” Kigali correction could avoid global warming by 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit (0.4 degrees Celsius) by the end of the century. Not too bad.
Many efforts, such as the proposal to stop greenhouse gas emissions Fossil fuel extraction And Plastic manufacturing, If very consistent with science, the politically divisive is challenged. However taking HFC is a rare part of low hanging fruit. Representatives of both parties are in it Refrigeration industry lobbying group Even Business Owners Association. Back in 2019, conservative and business interests Practically begging Trump will sign the Kigali Amendment because it will code national production with many more of its signatories and increase trade opportunities. In 2019, the refrigerant industry even Published a white paper Showing HFCs in phases could generate 33,000 U.S. manufacturing jobs and generate an additional 12.5 billion in economic income. The popularity of policies to control HFCs turned them into a brainchild for bidon administration.
“Replacing HFCs is the first and most important step in tackling the worst of a climate crisis, and we have safer alternatives that could save the industry money on bargaining,” said David Doniger, Climate and Senior Strategic Director at the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Energy Program, in a statement. “This is an important first step towards meeting our ambitious climate goals.”
But the thing is, these rules could have come much earlier. We have HFC replacement technology. The companies have already developed Hydrofluoroulfine (HFO) Coolant compounds, which can Damage to the environment However, there is less warmth than HFCs. There are propane coolers Had existed since the 1850s. Although they are imperfect because they can be harmful to health when they leak, they are a much better hell for the climate than HFCs. There are tons Short technology replacement Even for cooling technology, like well-installed ventilation systems and fans. But big chemicals Replacement HFCs from companies like Dupont were ready and patented Pressure has been put on to slow down the HFC usage and it has been effective.
“There’s still a lot that EPA can do,” Tadnio noted American innovation and production AIncludes opportunities to make the city government stronger Timeline to get HFCs out.
How given Back then we were on our climate target And how big the U.S. climate responsibility is The biggest historical pollutant, Can’t we be more ambitious in our HFC phases? I’m not saying it could happen overnight, but 2035 is far from over. Let us hope that the American Innovation and Production Act of December needs to be made but insufficient promises are just a start and the Beadon administration will soon follow strict and expeditious policies.