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The pandemic relief bill passed by both houses of the US Congress and signed by President Trump includes a provision to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The HFC provision, known as the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2020 , provides for federal authority to phase down HFC production and consumption in line with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. An industry forecast the overall contribution to the U.S. economy from phasing down HFCs will be 33,000 new jobs, $12.5 billion in new investment in the U.S. economy, and a 25 percent increase in exports.
The climate benefits of the legislation are even more significant. The Montreal Protocol’s 2018 quadrennial Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, confirmed that a fast phasedown of HFCs could avoid up to 0.5°C of warming, with the initial schedule of the Kigali Amendment capturing 90% of this potential and can capture the rest with an accelerated schedule, or leapfrog strategy.
Beyond phasing down HFCs, improving the energy efficiency of air conditioners and other cooling equipment has the potential to at least double the climate benefits of the Kigali Amendment in the near-term. The latest Assessment of Climate and Development Benefits of Efficient and Climate Friendly Cooling calculates that deploying today’s best available energy efficient technologies for stationary air conditioning and refrigeration can cut cumulative emissions from the stationary air conditioning and refrigeration sectors by the equivalent of 38–60 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide by 2030, and by 210–460 billion tonnes by 2060, depending on future rates of de-carbonization of electricity generation.
The HFC provision had bipartisan support from both Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate, and was broadly supported by U.S. manufacturers and small businesses in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration industry.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, told The New York Times that the bill to reduce planet-warming chemicals is “the single biggest victory in the fight against climate change to pass this body in a decade.”
Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute of Governance & Sustainable Development, said “This is a powerful signal that the US is back in the climate game, and the opening round in the Biden Administration’s ten-year sprint to reduce the other short-lived climate pollutants—methane, tropospheric ozone, and black carbon soot.”
Zaelke added, “Cutting these climate pollutants in the next decade can cut the rate of climate warming by half, a critical strategy for keeping the planet safe as countries pursue the goals of net zero climate emissions by 2050.”
Durwood Zaelke, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1 (202) 498 2457.
Tiy Chung, CCAC, email@example.com
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