Gretchen Goldman of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy, who was formerly a research director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, called the rule
“an important step to tackle climate emissions.”
HFCs, which frequently leak from appliances, heat the atmosphere at a rate hundreds of thousands of times faster than carbon dioxide and are used widely in grocery stores across the country. Undercover investigators with the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) found
earlier this year that HFC leaks existed in the freezers and refrigerators of 55% of supermarkets it surveyed in the Washington, D.C. area.
Avipsa Mahapatra, a climate campaign leader at the EIA, called
the administration’s decision “a landmark EPA rulemaking” which would help drastically curb the use of “the most potent super-pollutants known to mankind at the moment.”
The reduction in HFCs resulting from the rule is expected to be the equivalent of 4.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide and will generate about $272 billion in cost savings and public health benefits over the next three decades, according to
the White House. The regulation is also expected to promote job creation as companies manufacture alternative cooling mechanisms.
Next month, the EPA is also expected to respond
to 13 petitions filed
under the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, by groups that want to limit the use of HFCs in dehumidifiers and other appliances.
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), a co-author of the Green New Deal legislation, applauded the EPA’s new rule and expressed hope that the Biden administration and Congress will “continue to push for the ambitious solutions we need to combat the climate crisis by passing the budget reconciliation bill.”
“HFCs are superheating our planet, exacerbating extreme weather events, and threatening the physical and economic health of our communities,” said Markey. “I applaud President Biden’s actions to cut down these super-pollutants while strengthening our ability to compete in a global clean energy market.”