EIA Petitions EPA to Restore US Climate Ambition on HFCs

Washington D.C. — Today the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) joined by several other organizations petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict the use of super-pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in key cooling sectors, under new authority from the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. HFCs are man-made climate pollutants thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. HFCs are used mainly as refrigerants in air conditioning, heat pumps, and refrigeration, with other applications in foams, aerosols, fire suppression, semiconductor manufacturing, and solvents.

“This is a key moment for the U.S. to demonstrate true climate leadership by implementing the most ambitious feasible restrictions on HFC use,” said Christina Starr, Senior Policy Analyst, EIA. “These regulations are essential to meet the Kigali Amendment HFC phase-down schedule. If strong enough, they can make it feasible to accelerate it in several years and help lead the world into the next chapter of Montreal Protocol climate action.”

EIA’s petition requests that the EPA prohibit using many HFCs in newly manufactured refrigeration and air conditioning systems ranging from small residential air conditioners to large refrigeration systems in supermarkets, targeting the largest sectors of HFC consumption and emissions. It calls for replicating a proposed regulation recently approved in California, the most comprehensive domestic HFC regulation to date in the United States.

“The EPA must make up for the lost time and utilize its authority to implement the new climate law, AIM Act in the most ambitious and effective way. Eliminating these potent super pollutants can save hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon equivalent, pivotal to achieve near-term emissions reduction.” said Avipsa Mahapatra, Climate Campaign Lead, EIA. “Our petition presents an ambitious roadmap to end the unnecessary reliance on climate-damaging gases for cooling, especially by the supermarket industry. California has already demonstrated that this is eminently achievable.”

HFCs are the fastest growing type of greenhouse gases. U.S. HFC use has risen steadily in recent years to around 300 million metric tons CO2 equivalent annually. The Biden Administration recently announced it would begin the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment, the global HFC phase-down agreement which the AIM Act authorizes the EPA to implement domestically.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Green America, and shecco America Inc. joined EIA as co-petitioners. Other petitions also submitted today by NRDC and industry groups demonstrate broad support for fast implementation of the AIM Act.

Lindsay Moran, Head of Communications, EIA-US, [email protected]