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Search, Reuse, and Destroy: How States Can Take the Lead on a 100 Billion Ton Climate Problem

Preventing emissions of fluorinated refrigerants such as HFCs from “F-gas banks” is the single biggest near-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. The IPCC special report on limiting global warming to within 1.5˚C also underlined need for faster and deeper HFC emission reductions beyond those anticipated under full implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Search, Reuse, and Destroy: How States Can Take the Lead on a 100 Billion Ton Climate Problem outlines policy approaches for U.S. states to take leadership on this major climate opportunity.

End-of-life emissions of refrigerants from retired equipment avoidable in the U.S. are estimated to be 75-80 million metric tons of CO2e annually, equivalent to emissions from 16 million cars. Recovery and destruction of refrigerant banks at end of life is a cost-effective mitigation strategy, costing less per ton than conservative measures for the U.S. social cost of carbon. Leaks are another major source of refrigerant emissions with an average supermarket refrigeration system leaking 25% of its total refrigerant charge annually, equivalent to 1,780 metric tons of CO2e, or emissions of nearly 400 passenger cars annually. As federal EPA regulations on refrigerant management are rolled back, U.S. States must act quickly and decisively to address refrigerant emissions through policies aimed at scaling up refrigerant management, recovery, reclamation, and destruction — a near-term, cost-effective approach that would have immediate and significant climate benefits.

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Recent Reports

Template: Letter of Support for EIA AIM Act Petition
04/13/2021
Interested organizations can submit a letter of support for EIA’s petition to EPA to restrict HFC uses under the AIM Act. Please download the attached template above to submit a letter to newberg.cindy@epa.gov.
EIA Petition to EPA Under AIM Act
04/13/2021
EIA is petitioning EPA to use its authority under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM Act), a new climate law passed in December 2020. The AIM Act authorizes EPA to phase down HFCs through three mechanisms of an allowance system, technology transitions, and regulations to minimize release through refrigerant management.

Recent Press Releases

U.S. EPA Proposes Landmark Climate Rule to Initiate HFC Phase-down
05/03/2021
Today the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rulemaking to establish an allocation system for the phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The proposed rule is the first step to implement the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM Act), the new climate law that sets the U.S. on course for compliance with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. The rule proposes an allowance allocation and trading system, which will determine the amount of HFCs an entity can produce or consume, and create the mechanism to phase-down domestic HFCs.
EIA Petitions EPA to Restore US Climate Ambition on HFCs
04/13/2021
Today the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) joined by several other organizations petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict the use of super-pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in key cooling sectors, under new authority from the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. HFCs are man-made climate pollutants thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. HFCs are used mainly as refrigerants in air conditioning, heat pumps, and refrigeration, with other applications in foams, aerosols, fire suppression, semiconductor manufacturing, and solvents.

Recent Videos

Leaking Havoc: Exposing Your Supermarket’s Invisible Climate Pollution
02/15/2021
An EIA investigation into dozens of supermarkets in the greater Washington, D.C. area, including Virginia and Maryland, found a majority of stores to be leaking super-pollutant hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants
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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Where are HFCs used?
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How to Recycle Your Fridge