The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a reduction target for HFC refrigerants, aiming for a 40 per cent decrease below historic levels from 2024 to 2028. This EPA regulation aligns with the goals of the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which seeks to reduce HFC production and consumption by 85 per cent by 2036.
Since the HFC phase-down was initiated in 2022, the US has already seen a 10 per cent reduction in both production and imports of these refrigerants. Scientists estimate that this collective effort could potentially prevent up to 0.5ºC of global warming by the year 2100.
The EPA plans to introduce two more regulatory actions in 2023 alongside the HFC phase-down. These actions include restrictions on certain sectors’ HFC use and rules for managing HFCs installed in equipment.
Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) president and CEO Stephen Yurek described the recent allocation rule as a crucial milestone in implementing the AIM Act’s HFC phase-down schedule
“Our industry values the efforts of the EPA and the timely release of this rule, as we make preparations for the next step in reducing HFCs next January,” he said.
Under the Trump administration, the US was late to implement the HFC phase-down, becoming the 140th country to ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol six years after the historic conclusion of talks in the Rwandan capital
To ensure fair competition and to prevent the illegal import of HFCs, a taskforce led by the EPA and the Department of Homeland Security has been established.
Since 2022 more than a million tonnes of CO2 equivalent has already been stopped at US borders.
The EPA enforces compliance by revoking allowances and retiring CO2e for companies that misreport data or import HFCs without proper permits, as a way of promoting fair competition and adherence to regulations among US companies.
Joe Goffman, the EPA’s principal deputy assistant administrator at the office of air and radiation, said: “This rulemaking is a critical next step in the Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious plans to phase down climate super-pollutants and ensure the United States leads the way as countries around the world implement the Kigali Amendment.”