E.P.A. to Announce Phase-Down of Powerful Greenhouse Gases

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday will take its first important step to curb local weather change, an company spokesman confirmed, transferring to section down chemical substances utilized in refrigeration and air-conditioning which are hundreds of occasions stronger than carbon dioxide at warming the planet.

The proposed regulation goals to cut back the manufacturing and importation of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, within the United States by 85 p.c over the following 15 years. It’s a objective shared by environmental teams and the enterprise neighborhood, which collectively championed bipartisan legislation handed by Congress in December to sort out the pollutant.

The velocity with which the E.P.A. is proposing the regulation underscores the extent of consideration the Biden administration is giving to local weather change, mentioned Francis Dietz, vp for public affairs on the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, a commerce group.

“They’re really moving swiftly,” he mentioned. “It says they’re very serious about this.”

In speaking the features it believes will likely be realized by tackling local weather change, the E.P.A. estimated that the HFC rule will end in $283.9 billion in well being and environmental advantages by the center of the century.

The effort is a component of President Biden’s formidable technique to minimize the nation’s greenhouse fuel emissions roughly in half by 2030. It additionally places the United States in keeping with an international goal to cut back HFCs, which the Biden administration has mentioned it is going to honor as half of its effort to revive American management in tackling local weather change.

Like methane, HFCs have short-term warming results way more highly effective than carbon dioxide, however they don’t keep within the ambiance as lengthy. Scientists have estimated that decreasing these sorts of greenhouse gases can have a palpable affect, slowing the tempo of world warming by 0.6 levels Celsius by midcentury.

“This is incredibly significant,” mentioned Kristen N. Taddonio, a senior local weather and vitality adviser for the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, an environmental nonprofit group. “By taking fast action on these short-lived climate pollutants, of which HFCs are the most potent, we can buy ourselves some time and actually help avoid climate tipping points.”

As half of a sweeping coronavirus aid invoice, Congress final 12 months permitted language directing the E.P.A. to curb HFCs. Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, who on the time was the Democratic minority chief, known as it “the single biggest victory in the fight against climate change to pass this body in a decade.”

The E.P.A. estimates that from 2022 to 2050, the rule will get rid of the equal of 4.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide — or about three years’ price of emissions from America’s energy sector.

The company mentioned it had carried out an “environmental justice analysis” that discovered cuts to planet-warming emissions “would benefit populations that may be especially vulnerable to damages associated with climate change, such as the very young, elderly, poor, disabled and Indigenous populations.”

Echoing an financial theme that Mr. Biden has repeatedly promoted when discussing his local weather plans, the E.P.A. mentioned that American producers had been on the forefront of creating HFC options and that the brand new laws would place these firms to succeed at dwelling and overseas.

Mr. Dietz mentioned he hoped that federal regulation meant firms wouldn’t face a patchwork of HFC prohibitions that at the moment are being formulated in numerous states.

“This is a big signal to the states that the administration takes this seriously and the federal government takes this seriously,” he mentioned.

In the final days of the Obama administration, 197 nations together with the United States signed an accord in Kigali, Rwanda, agreeing to section out HFCs. President Donald J. Trump never brought the agreement to the Senate for ratification. Mr. Biden, who has rejoined the United States to the Paris Agreement on local weather change, has pledged to ship the Kigali modification to the Senate for approval.

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