EPA Announces New Rule to Phase Down Hydrofluorocarbons by 85 Percent Over 15 Years

May 5, 2021

by ASME.org

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing a new rule to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are highly potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigerators and air conditioners. The new rule is the first issued under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020, which directs the EPA to address the use of HFCs and transition to next-generation technologies less damaging to the world’s climate.
 
“With this proposal, EPA is taking another significant step under President Biden’s ambitious agenda to address the climate crisis,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “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.”
 
The EPA suggests that a global phase down of HFCs alone could avoid up to 0.5 °C of global warming by 2100. Fighting the climate crisis in this way will have significant impact on curbing severe weather events such as wildfires and floods that are becoming an increasing danger to society. In addition to the environmental benefit, the phase down also hopes to promote the use and development of innovative technologies, especially manufacturing technologies.
 
These actions will have large economic benefits, with EPA estimating that the U.S. will see a benefit of $283.9 billion from 2022 through 2050. In 2022 alone, EPA estimates that the rule will see $2.8 billion in terms of social benefits in the U.S. and a $200 million benefit in compliance costs directly.
 
EPA is accepting comments on the proposed rule for 45 days after its publication in the Federal Register and will be holding a public hearing. The agency plans to finalize this rule later this year. For more information on the rule and how to comment, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/climate-hfcs-reduction.
 
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