Obama Administration Announces Cuts to HFC Emissions

Washington, D.C. – Tuesday, the Obama Administration announced new private sector commitments and executive actions to reduce emissions of hydroflourocarbons (HFCs), powerful greenhouse gases that exacerbate climate change.

According the the Whitehouse, HFCs, factory-made gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration, are one of the strongest greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and are up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. These private sector commitments will reduce cumulative global consumption of HFCs by the equivalent of 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2025. That’s an amount equal to 1.5% of the world’s 2010 greenhouse gas emissions—or, in other words, it’s like taking nearly 15 million cars off the road for 10 years.

The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, an industry coalition representing more than 95 percent of U.S. HFC production announced yesterday their support to phase down production of HFCs and that it will support policy with a goal of reducing global HFC emissions by 80% by 2050 based on current emission rates.

Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Honeywell, Carrier, DanFoss, DuPont, Kroger, Red Bull, Target and other major companies have voluntarily agreed to scale down, phase out their use of HFCs by replacing them with more climate-friendly alternatives.

President Obama also recently passed executive orders to combat the release of HFCs including regulations for service and vendor contractors, evaluating sustainable technologies in Federal buildings. The US Environmental Protection Agency plans to expand a list of climate-friendly alternatives to both ozone-depleting substances and high-GWP HFCs, and it is currently working on its next listing notice under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, including both fluorinated and non-fluorinated alternatives that can be used in important sectors.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), received a petition from the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy (ARAP) to create consistent refrigerant management regulations by applying the same rules that already exist for ozone-depleting refrigerants to HFCs. Both will work with other interested governments, international agencies, private sector organizations and civil society to organize a series of sector-specific workshops. These workshops will provide an opportunity to share information on technologies, policies, and standards toward reducing HFCs.

The EPA also announced funding to be made available for the development of efficient cooling technologies, including examining HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) technologies that use alternative refrigerants and those that move beyond using refrigerants altogether.

This announcement comes a week before Obama is expected to join with over 100 world leaders at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York to kick off negotiations to work toward a global climate change agreement in Paris next year, with the primary aim of setting new policy to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

JD Sullivan

JD Sullivan is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Green Action News. He has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism/Mass Communication. JD is passionate about journalism & sustainable living.

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