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: EPA pushing new rules to curb emissions from air conditioners and refrigerators

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The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing rules to reduce the use of coolants from air conditioners and refrigerators that create powerful greenhouse gases that scientists link to global warming.

The proposal would create a process for reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons in cooling appliances, the first step toward meeting new mandates from Congress to cut HFCs by 85% over 15 years, the EPA said.

Lawmakers passed that mandate late last year as part of a $2 trillion spending and Covid-19 aid package.

The effort has drawn mostly bipartisan support and aligns with steps already taken by the industry. The Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, a trade group, has said U.S. companies have spent billions of dollars developing alternative chemicals to sell globally, which would get a boost if the U.S. joins international efforts to eliminate HFCs, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Atlanta-based Rheem Manufacturing Co., which makes air-conditioning equipment, welcomed a “uniform federal approach” for the industry to follow, the EPA statement said.

The goal to cut HFCs as proposed by the EPA is the equivalent of 4.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions from 2022 through 2050. It compares to almost three years of U.S. power sector emissions at 2019 levels.

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