EPA Implements Final Rule to Slash Hydrofluorocarbons Production and Consumption

July 11, 2023
EPA's rule sets 40% reduction target for HFCs from 2024 to 2028.

The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it has taken steps to further reduce production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The agency issued a final rule to phase down HFCs by 40% from 2024 through 2028.

The EPA also is planning two additional regulatory actions under the bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act in 2023. The first is a final rule placing restrictions on the use of HFCs in certain sectors to facilitate sector-based transitions to alternative chemicals, and the second is a proposed rule establishing certain requirements for the management of HFCs and HFC substitutes in equipment, such as air conditioners.

HFCs are a class of potent greenhouse gases commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning, aerosols and foam products. Their climate impact can be hundreds to thousands of times stronger than the same amount of carbon dioxide, the EPA stated.

The rule aligns with AIM’s goals to reduce the production and consumption of HFCs by 85% by 2036 and help avoid up to 0.5 °C of global warming by 2100, the agency said.

The final rule follows a 10% phasedown step implemented for 2022 and 2023. It establishes a similar allowance methodology to provide regulatory certainty to industry and stakeholders, the EPA said.  

HFC allowances for calendar year 2024 will be allocated by Sept. 29. The phasedown schedule under this program is consistent with the schedule laid out in the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which the United States ratified in October 2022.

The HFC phasedown program includes enforcement mechanisms to ensure a level playing field for U.S. companies complying with the phasedown requirements, according to the EPA.

Since January 2022, the Interagency Task Force on Illegal HFC Trade, co-led by EPA and the Department of Homeland Security, has prevented illegal HFC shipments equivalent to more than 1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO₂) at the border, which is equivalent to the CO2 emissions from over 206,000 homes’ electricity use for one year.

The EPA also applies administrative consequences, such as revocation and retirement of allowances, for noncompliance that can be in addition to any civil or criminal enforcement action. The EPA has finalized administrative consequences retiring more than 6.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) for calendar years 2022 and 2023 for companies that misreported data or imported HFCs without the requisite number of allowances.

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