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US set to cut HFCs

The Biden administration has announced the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will release a new rule to reduce the emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by 85 per cent over 15 years.

The move, signalled earlier this year, will bring the USA in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which has now been ratified by 126 countries, and which sets a similar target for reductions in HFCs. Although the USA has not ratified the Kigali Amendment yet, the White House has suggested to industry leaders that Biden plans to send the accord to the Senate for ratification soon.

By phasing down HFCs, the government says it will not only reduce more than 4.5 billion tonnes of CO2e by 2050, but also bolster the competitiveness of American industries and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

A statement from the White House claims this is “one of the most impactful federal efforts to reduce climate pollution in decades”.

The EPA’s rule will establish an allowance allocation and trading program to reduce HFCs. Additionally, the government will introduce measures to prevent illegal trade, production, use, and sale of HFCs; support the development of HFC alternatives; manage HFC stocks; and advance HFC research and testing.

A new interagency task force is being developed to detect and stop any attempt to illegally import or produce HFCs, led by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, and EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance.

Relevant departments will also be working in accordance with the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act to enforce the phase-down and deter illegal activity, and explore the development and use of HFC alternatives.

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