Climate: EPA set to limit heat-trapping coolant chemicals

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Industrial cooling requires extensive use of heat-trapping pollutants. @bberwyn photo.

New regs could avoid the equivalent of 11 million tons of CO2 emissions

Staff Report

The EPA wants to end the use of some industrial coolants that are up to 10,000 times more potent heat-trapping substances than CO2. At the same time, the agency is expanding the list of chemicals that are acceptable as safer and “more climate-friendly alternatives.”

At stake is reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used air-conditioning, refrigeration, and other equipment.

The proposed EPA rule — reached after consulting with industry — would avoid emissions equivalent to 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, which is equal to the emissions from the energy used by approximately one million homes for one year.

“This new proposal would reduce the use and emissions of some of the most harmful HFCs, which are thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide, and approves safer, more climate-friendly alternatives to protect public health and our environment,” EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a press release.

EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. If a hearing is requested, further information will be provided at https://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap.

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