US Push to Phase Down Global Warming Inducing Refrigerants Blocked by Trump Administration, Moves to the States
- Apr 21, 2020 6:19 pm GMT
When we think about climate change, we usually think about reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, but other gasses also contribute to the problem. Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants, the chemicals we use in our air conditioning and refrigeration systems (we used to call them Freon), are also major climate change contributors. Indeed, refrigerant emissions are rising so rapidly they threaten to undermine progress made to mitigate CO2 emissions. The Obama administration recognized the potential climate threat posed by HFCs and advanced several policies to phase down their use. Since Donald Trump’s election, the administration and its allies blocked those policies, either actively or through malign neglect. In response, state governments are stepping up to advance the HFC phasedown. Those efforts appear to be progressing, even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The domestic air conditioning industry is struggling to manage this expansion of regulations. Those struggles could well turn into delays for the general public should manufacturers have insufficient time to produce the new refrigerants and equipment the new regulations require. The industry is imploring the federal government to impose nationwide standards, but so far, those pleas have gone unheeded.
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