Energy & Environment

EPA takes additional step toward phasing out planet-warming gas used in refrigeration

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday took an additional step toward the phaseout of a certain type of potent planet-warming gas. 

The agency is required by a bipartisan 2020 law to implement a phasedown of the greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which can be hundreds or even thousands of times as powerful as carbon dioxide. 

HFCs can be used in air conditioning, refrigeration, fire suppression and aerosols.

Last year, the EPA finalized a rule that established the baseline level it would seek to phase the gases down from, as well as establishing methods for initial phasedowns. Ultimately, the EPA is expected to cut the use of HFCs down by 85 percent from that baseline over 15 years. 

On Thursday, it proposed a separate rule that would set the methodology for issuing allowances to produce and consume the gases in 2024 and beyond. In 2024, the number of allowances available to companies will be 40 percent lower than historic levels, the agency said. 

While the law directing the phasedown was actually signed by former President Trump, current EPA Administrator Michael Regan touted it as an action that the current administration is taking to address climate change. 

“From day one, President Biden promised ambitious action to address the climate crisis and its impacts, which are becoming ever more disruptive and costing billions of dollars every year. Today’s action once again delivers on his promise,” Regan said in a statement.

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