EPA steps up ‘Green Chill’ efforts to cut greenhouse gases

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New refrigerants could soon come on the market reduce the use of heat-trapping greenhouse gas pollution. @bberwyn photo.

New rule targets HFCs

Staff Report

The EPA is targeting sharp cuts of potent heat-trapping pollutants used for refrigeration with a series of new rules, as well as collaborative steps with industries that use hydrofluorocarbons.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced some of those steps last week during a White House roundtable, describing the partnership with companies like Target.

“The powerful combination of EPA’s regulatory actions and innovations emerging from the private sector have put our country on track to significantly cut HFC use and deliver on the goals of the President’s Climate Action Plan,” McCarthy said.

A proposed new rule would  improve the way refrigerant is sold, handled, recovered, and recycled. The EPA estimates that, by 2025, the rule would reduce HFC emissions equivalent to about 7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Another rule eyed for next year could ban some HFCs completely if there are safer alternatives, and would also approve several new climate-friendly alternatives for a variety of industry applications.

At the roundtable, several companies announced their plans to reduce HFC use, including Target, which said all of the new stand-alone coolers in its stores with a compressor capacity below 2,200 btu/hr will be HFC-free starting in January 2016.

The EPA has been working with industry for several years under the GreenChill partnership, encouraging supermarkets to transition to climate-friendly refrigerants, reduce the amount of refrigerant used and eliminate harmful refrigerant leaks.

If supermarkets nationwide reduced the amount of refrigerant they leak to the current GreenChill partner average, they could avoid $169 million in refrigerant replacement costs while preventing the annual emission of about 29 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. In 2014 alone, GreenChill partners, including the GreenChill awardees, prevented more than 8 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

Learn more about the public and private sector commitments made at the White House Roundtable: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/10/15/fact-sheet-obama-administration-and-private-sector-leaders-announce

 

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