The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Biden Administration has announced the first major step to stop the climate menace. It has released new regulations to “phase down” the use of hydrochlorofluorocarbon which is utilized for the process of refrigeration.
They have proposed it under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act of 2020 to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
The EPA had announced in May that it had started to work on the rulemaking procedure to limit the production and use of HFCs, reported USA Today.
Emissions would be cut by 85% over 15 years, EPA noted.
According to the EPA, the reduction by these rules is expected to reduce the equivalent of 4.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide by mid-century, or three years’ worth of carbon dioxide emissions from America’s power sector.
Gina McCarthy, Biden’s national climate adviser, said, “It really sends a signal to the rest of the world that the U.S. is in, we are all in, on climate change.”
However, critics have asserted that consumers who are using a low-budgeted air conditioner and refrigeration won’t be able to afford the new refrigerants.
But McCarthy doesn’t think this would be a problem because there are already a lot of alternatives available for HFCs and this is a “huge opportunity for American industries.”
This is the first time that the government has established national standards on HFCs. The EPA emphasized that this rule could help to avoid heating of the planet up to 0.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. HFCs are much more potent than carbon dioxide at heating the planet, reported CNBC.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute along with other business groups praised the regulation as a balanced solution and called it a “win-win for both the climate and the economy.”
The groups said in a joint statement, “The plan allows U.S. manufacturers to maintain a technological advantage over foreign competitors in the global marketplace in supporting an appropriate transition while creating thousands of new and good-paying jobs in the U.S.”
Also, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said, “With this proposal, EPA is taking another significant step under President Biden’s ambitious agenda to address the climate crisis.
By phasing down HFCs, which can be hundreds to thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the planet, EPA is taking major action to help keep global temperature rise in check.
The phase-down of HFCs is also widely supported by the business community, as it will help promote American leadership in innovation and manufacturing of new climate-safe products. Put simply, this action is good for our planet and our economy.”
Moreover, Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE), Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee said, “By phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are powerful greenhouse gases, implementation of the AIM Act will create hundreds of thousands of good-paying jobs that will combat climate change.
In joining the rest of the world in reducing the use of HFCs, we will help avoid an increase of 0.5 °C of global warming by the end of the century.
Passing the AIM Act was a momentous climate achievement that will help save our planet, and today we are one step closer to its benefits being a reality.”