USA: Cindy Newberg, the US EPA’s director of the stratospheric protection division, has won the USA’s top public service award for her efforts to curb the use of HFCs.
Newberg, who has led the team responsible for the US AIM Act to address HFCs, as well as the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, has won a 2022 Samuel J Heyman Service to America Medal. Also known as “the Sammies”, the medals honour members of the federal government workforce who have made significant contributions to the governance of the United States.
During the past decade, Cindy Newberg has worked to get countries around the world to reach an international agreement to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs; advised Congress on legislation to uphold the US portion of the agreement; worked with industry and environmental groups to reach consensus; and most recently played an instrumental role within the Environmental Protection Agency to craft regulations to implement the law.
“Cindy Newberg’s leadership at home and abroad has given the world a fighting chance to avoid the worst impacts of climate change by leading both domestic and global efforts to phase down the climate-changing, super-pollutant chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons,” said Christopher Grundler, director of the EPA’s Office of Atmospheric Programs.
EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Newberg has been able to work with environmental groups, industry and different presidential administrations to bridge differences and achieve significant results to protect the environment.
“Cindy’s role was crucial as a leader and a problem-solver by developing and sharing analyses that showed the phasedown of HFCs was feasible, alternatives were available and countries would get benefits from joining the phasedown,” Regan said.
“The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was one of the most meaningful things I have done in my life—taking a class of chemicals that were contributing significantly to climate change, finding a path forward and saving up to a half-degree Celsius of warming by 2100,” Newberg said. “Our domestic HFC regulations will result in more climate benefits for the United States than anything the EPA has ever done.”