WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing a rule to prohibit certain uses of chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change in favor of safer, more climate-friendly alternatives. This action responds to President Barack Obama’s Climate Action Plan by reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases used in air conditioning, refrigeration, and other equipment.

“Today’s action delivers on the President’s Climate Action Plan and the administration’s commitment to acting on climate. And it is in line with steps leading businesses are already taking to reduce and replace HFCs with safer, climate-friendly alternatives,” said Gina McCarthy, administrator, EPA. “This rule will not only reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, but also encourage greater use and development of the next generation of safer HFC alternatives.”

In the U.S., HFC emissions are expected to nearly double by 2020 and triple by 2030. New technologies and new climate-friendly refrigerants can significantly reduce these emission increases. EPA estimates this final rule will reduce greenhouse gas emissions of 54-64 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2025, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual energy use of more than 5.8 million homes. The HFCs and HFC-containing blends affected by the rule are used in aerosols, foam blowing, motor vehicle air conditioning, retail food refrigeration, and vending machines. The EPA is also approving several alternatives under its Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program. EPA reps state the new options offer better climate protection without harming the ozone layer. Learn more about EPA’s SNAP program and the rule at http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/regulations.html.

Publication date: 7/20/2015 

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