The EPA has proposed banning some hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases, in a move that the agency says would reduce GHG emissions by up to 42 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020.
The HFCs and HFC-containing blends affected by the proposal are used in aerosols, motor vehicle air conditioning, retail food refrigeration and vending machines, and foam blowing.
Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, the EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program evaluates substitute chemicals and technologies that are safe for the ozone layer. The proposed action would change the status of certain high-global warming potential (GWP) HFCs that were previously listed as acceptable under the SNAP Program to be unacceptable in specific end-uses based on information showing that other alternatives are available for the same uses that pose lower risk overall to human health or the climate.
The HFC proposal follows an earlier action by the EPA to expand the list of climate-friendly alternatives for refrigeration and air conditioning under its SNAP Program. It’s also part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, announced last year.