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Industry and greens welcome EPA bans

USA: Refrigerant producers, refrigeration equipment manufacturers and green groups have welcomed the US EPA’s usage bans on high GWP HFCs.

Yesterday’s announcement that certain HFCs, including R404A, are to be delisted from the US EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Programme has been described as “momentous rulemaking” by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). The Natural Resources Defense Council called it “well-timed”, and even industry was quick to applaud the move (Delayed HFC bans to become law – Cooling Post).

“This rulemaking is a significant step forward in the fight against climate change,” said Lisa Handy, senior policy advisor at the EIA. “By reducing these amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, the EPA is showing continued leadership, both by supporting president Obama’s Climate Action Plan and serving as an example to industry leaders.”

David Doniger, director of the Climate and Clean Air Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), welcomed the move, describing it as “another critical step to cut the heat-trapping pollution that drives dangerous climate change”.

Both see the US move as an important driver towards reaching global phase-down agreements under the Montreal Protocol.

“Today’s announcement is indicative of the global momentum that’s building prior to the Open-Ended Working Group to the Montreal Protocol this month and the annual meeting of the Montreal Protocol in November,” said Mark W Roberts, EIA senior counsel and international policy advisor.

David Doniger at the NRDC said: “Today’s action is well-timed to help push for faster phase-down of HFCs in Montreal Protocol negotiations later this month.”

Refrigerant manufacturers Honeywell and Chemours also applauded the decision which will see many high GWP refrigerants being banned from use in new retail refrigeration equipment from as early as January 1, 2017.

Honeywell called it a “landmark action”, with Ken Gayer, vice president and general manager of its fluorine products business, saying “EPA’s action will accelerate the adoption of solutions with far less impact on the atmosphere while also spurring private sector innovation and creating jobs.”

Diego Boeri, global business director of Chemours said that his company would continue to support action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in applications that have readily available lower global warming potential options.

“We believe it is critical that we reduce high global warming potential emissions in a manner that ensures that we are still able to deliver the critical societal services that HFCs provide today,” he said.

Steven Trulaske, owner of True Manufacturing, a major US manufacturer of refrigerated catering equipment, commented: “The action offers clarity to the industry and very positive, long term impact for the environment.”

Ingersoll Rand, parent company of Trane, said it applauded efforts to prioritise a transition away from high global warming potential refrigerants and Whirlpool said it appreciated the EPA’s willingness to work with the Department of Energy to acknowledge the impacts of each other’s regulations and reduce burdens on US companies.

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