The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced additional actions to phase down climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), as part of President Joe Biden’s plans to combat the climate crisis.
The EPA proposed a rule to implement the next step of the nation’s HFC phase down – a 40% reduction below historic levels starting in 2024. The proposal follows the Senate’s approval to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a global agreement to phase down HFCs and avoid up to 0.5 °C of global warming by the end of this century.
“From day one, President Biden promised ambitious action to address the climate crisis and its impacts, which are becoming ever more disruptive and costing billions of dollars every year. Today’s action once again delivers on his promise,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “This proposal also sets the United States on track to meet the goals of the Kigali Amendment, fostering innovation and economic growth in the private sector and reinforcing U.S. leadership in the global fight against climate change.”
HFCs are a form of greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning, aerosols, and foam products. Their climate impact can be far stronger than the same amount of carbon dioxide. Under the bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, the EPA has established a national HFC phase down program that will reduce the production and consumption of these chemicals by 85% by 2036.
The announcement establishes the methodology for allocating HFC production and consumption allowances for 2024 and later years. The number of available allowances in 2024 will be reduced significantly to 40% below historic levels.
“Last month, we achieved a historic climate win in the Senate by coming together in a bipartisan manner to ratify the Kigali Amendment,” said Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Tom Carper (Del.). “I applaud the Biden Administration’s continued commitment to fully implementing the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act on schedule. Doing so keeps our nation on track to meet our HFC-reduction goals required under this global treaty, which is good for our planet and good for American businesses and workers.”
“I am proud to see the Biden Administration take this next step to implement the AIM Act. Phasing down HFCs is a critical component of our national climate action strategy, which is why Congress provided EPA with even more funding to administer this law under the Inflation Reduction Act,” said Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20). “I hope the EPA will move forward with a rule that further demonstrates that smart climate policies not only protect our environment, but also support U.S. consumers and manufacturers.”
“Super pollutants, like HFCs and methane, are the low-hanging fruit in the fight to slow climate change,” said Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52). “Two years ago, Congress passed bipartisan legislation to phase down the production and consumption of HFCs by 85% by 2036. Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will ensure we reduce these dangerous pollutants and protect communities across the globe from climate change-fueled disasters.”
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