Senate Climate Bill Stalls Over Coolants Disputes

Mar 16, 2020

by ASME.org

Last week, the Senate was expected to move forward with a bipartisan bill that would fight the affects of climate change by promoting greater energy efficiency, furthering the development of clean energy technologies that would limit greenhouse gas emissions, enhance grid security, and support carbon capture efforts. However, the legislation stalled over a proposed amendment that would have imposed a 15-year phase down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are used as coolants in refrigerators.

The amendment was backed by Senators John Kennedy (R-LA) and Tom Carper (D-DE). The believed the phase down would give companies certainty by offering a timeline on when next-generation coolants would be needed in order to replace HFCs. Bloomberg Government reports that, “The Kennedy-Carper amendment is supported by at least three dozen senators, including 17 Republicans who signed on as co-sponsors. But the amendment is opposed by Senate GOP leadership, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.”

The future of the largely bipartisan bill is now unclear as Senators are scrambling to figure out what’s next for the climate change action legislation. While Senators on both sides of the isle are pointing fingers at the unexpected hold-up, there is still large support for moving some sort of energy efficiency/climate change action measure forward, and ASME will continue to monitor any action.

The House has also showed interest in HFCs and held a hearing on a potential phase down earlier this year, which was previously reported on in this newsletter.

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