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The US-based Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued its final rule setting the parameters for phasing down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) 85 per cent over the next 15 years.

The EPA rule sets allocation limits for the chemicals in line with the phase down schedule outlined under the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act.

This final rule sets HFC production and consumption baseline levels and establishes an initial methodology for allocating and trading HFC allowances for 2022 and 2023, and creates a robust, agile, and innovative compliance and enforcement system.

In addition to implementing this landmark phasedown program, the Biden-Harris Administration is marshalling a whole-of-government approach to prevent the illegal trade, production, use or sale of HFCs.

EPA administrator, Michael S. Regan, said cutting these pollutants not only protects the environment but strengthens the economy and shows America is back to leading the world in addressing climate change and curbing global warming in the years ahead.

EPA estimates that the present value of the cumulative net benefits of this action is more than $272 billion from 2022 through 2050, and that the rule will yield cumulative compliance savings for industry.

In 2036 alone, the year the final reduction step is made, this rule is expected to prevent emissions of the equivalent of 171 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) – roughly equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from one out of every seven passenger vehicles registered in the United States.

The total emission reductions of the rule from 2022 to 2050 are projected to amount to the equivalent of 4.6 billion metric tonnes of CO2 – nearly equal to three years of US power sector emissions at 2019 levels.

The US Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) president & CEO, Stephen Yurek, said industry support this rule and are hopeful the administration will ratify the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

A global HFC phasedown is expected to avoid up to 0.5° Celsius of global warming by 2100

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