Washington | The U.S. government announced Thursday that it has finalized regulations to achieve a 15-year goal of 85% reduction in hydrofluorocarbon emissions, a category of the most harmful to greenhouse gases.
“This is one of the most important federal measures to reduce environmental pollution in decades,” according to Joe Biden’s management.
The regulation has already been announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but has now been “finalized”, the company’s chairman Michael Reagan told a news conference.
He said that by 2050, US emissions should be reduced to the equivalent of 4.5 billion tons of CO2, or about three years from the country’s energy sector.
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) refrigerant gases are commonly used to produce refrigerants, refrigerators or insulating foam.
“They are thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide in warming our climate,” National Climate Adviser Gina McCarthy told a news conference.
The move, which begins in 2022, is expected to “maintain and create millions of jobs,” according to Biden management.
In practice, this includes promoting alternatives to HFCs and their use, including federal buildings and equipment. The government also wants to combat the illegal import of HFCs.
“The United States is already at the forefront of innovation and alternative products to HFCs, so making this change is good for our economy,” Gina McCarthy said.
With these terms, the United States respects the pledge made in 2016 as part of the Kigali Agreement. According to the schedule of this agreement, a group of so-called “developed” countries must reduce the consumption of its HFCs by 85% by 2036, which was postponed for a few years to other countries.
Experts say that if the agreement is ratified, it could reduce global warming by 0.5 degrees Celsius by 2100.
This US move should contribute to the fulfillment of Washington’s obligations within the framework of the Paris Agreement. The United States is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50-52% by 2030 from 2005 levels.
Hydrofluorocarbons have been used to convert CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) since the 1990s, which are mainly responsible for the destruction of the ozone layer, and for this reason were banned under the Montreal Protocol. The Kigali Agreement is an amendment to this protocol.
HFCs, such as CFCs, belong to a family of so-called fluorinated gases.
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