EIA Response to EPA Proposal on Banning Additional HFCs Ahead of Montreal Protocol Meetings
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a proposed rulemaking to prohibit a number of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in many applications for stationary refrigeration, foam blowing, and fire suppression.
This proposal, issued under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program, recommends a 2021 deadline for transitioning several refrigeration applications including domestic refrigerators, cold storage warehouses, and some retail food processing and dispensing equipment, and a 2024 deadline for large chillers that cool entire buildings. The HFCs covered in the prohibitions notably include HFC-507A, HFC-404A, HFC-227ea, HFC-407A-F, and HFC-134a, with global warming potential (GWPs) from 1,400 up to almost 4,000 more damaging to the climate than carbon dioxide.
The plan also addresses foam blowing applications, with dates of 2020 and 2021 suggested for transitioning away from almost all of the remaining high-GWP HFCs used in spray foam applications. The EPA also plans to include imported closed-cell foam products that were excluded under a previous rule.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has long called for many of the actions recommended in today’s proposal in comments to previous rulemakings and petitions submitted to the EPA.
“EIA welcomes this next important step in a series of solid U.S. domestic actions taken to advance implementation of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to phase-down high-GWP HFCs,” said EIA’s Senior Policy Advisor Lisa Handy. “Yet we strongly encourage more ambitious transition dates in certain sectors and applications.”
“The proposal sends a positive signal ahead of next week’s Montreal Protocol meetings in Geneva where the Parties have committed to trying to agree on a global phase-down of HFCs this year, but falls short of prohibiting some high- and mid-range GWP HFCs and HFC blends or acknowledging the full range of low-GWP alternatives that are proven and in use around the world,” added Mark W. Roberts, EIA International Policy Advisor.
EIA looks forward to working with the EPA and other stakeholders to strengthen and finalize this rulemaking.
HFCs are a family of super greenhouse gases with GWPs that are hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. An ambitious global phase-down of HFCs could avoid up to half a degree of warming by the end of the century.
Maggie Dewane, Press Officer, (202) 483-6621, firstname.lastname@example.org