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US Congress presses Secretary Kerry to make super greenhouse gases (HFCs) a priority in India

As the nations of the world prepare to meet next week at the open ended working group of the Montreal Protocol in Bangkok, Thailand, Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to travel to India for the fourth U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. Sec. Kerry should seize the overlap of these important meetings to urge the Indian government to take concrete steps to significantly reduce climate change. The most cost effective way currently available, is to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol.

HFCs are synthetic chemicals, primarily used in refrigeration, air conditioning and foam blowing, which were commercialized to replace the high-global warming potential zone-depleting chemicals phased out by the Montreal Protocol over the past 25 years. HFCs are extremely harmful to the climate, with global warming potentials hundreds and thousands of times higher than carbon dioxide (CO2). Fortunately, commercially available, climate friendly alternatives exist for most of their uses and others are expected to become available during the period of the phase-down.

Under the Montreal Protocol, all 197 Parties have accepted firm reduction commitments. These commitments are based upon the legal principle of common but differentiated responsibilities that incorporates a grace period for developing countries. Through a phase-down of HFCs Sec. Kerry aptly pointed out in an opinion piece published by Grist, we “could eliminate nearly two years’ worth of current global greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2050.”

23 Members of Congress understand the importance of phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, and today sent a bicameral letter to Secretary Kerry urging for action on HFCs, stating that “No single action on India’s part would speak louder than to reconsider a phase-down of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.” EIA agrees that Sec. Kerry can and must use his leadership again to send a clear and unmistakable signal to the Parties meeting in Bangkok to take action now, and pass a phase-down of HFCs at the Montreal Protocol.

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Last week EIA participated in California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) 6th workshop on proposed regulations to reduce emissions of super pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in cooling. The state’s rigorous process for proposing new regulations on HFC refrigerants has been ongoing for several years now and is in the final stretch. Opportunities for stakeholder engagement have been abundant and ARB has invited input from industry along the way. They even aligned with an industry proposed 2023 deadline for transitioning new air conditioning equipment to refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) less than 750.

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Recent Press Releases

Unlocking Kigali Amendment Climate Benefits
A new safety standard proposed by an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) working group is vital to maximizing emission reductions from a global phase-down of super pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
Climate-friendly Supermarket Scorecard
Today, EIA launched the Climate-friendly Supermarket Scorecard assessing the largest U.S. supermarkets on actions and commitments to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) - potent greenhouse gases used in cooling.
What are the HFC-free Technologies?
Widespread adoption of HFC-free technologies is cost-effective, energy efficient, and climate-friendly. Read EIA’s report Putting the Freeze on HFCs for hundreds of examples of HFC-free technologies available and in use today.
A Global HFC Phase-down
The October 2016 Montreal Protocol meeting in Kigali, Rwanda yielded a global agreement to phase down HFCs. Now countries must ratify and implement the Kigali Amendment! Read and share EIA's briefing on this great opportunity and obligation to avert climate catastrophe.
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