Regardless of the
U.S. government’s position on HFCs, many states and individual companies are deciding to continue phasing out HFC’s and moving forward with alternative refrigerants that are environmentally responsible.
Just a few weeks ago, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced it is moving forward with its plans to adopt the same EPA SNAP list of unacceptable HFCs that was recently vacated by the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Manufacturers of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment have been preparing for the phasedown of HFCs since the creation of the 2016 Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which calls for a global phasedown of HFCs by more than 80 percent over the next 30 years. So far, 25 countries have ratified the Kigali Amendment, pushing it over the threshold of 20 countries needed for the treaty to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2019, in developed countries. However, it has not been ratified by the U.S., and the Trump administration is currently deciding whether or not to send it to the Senate for ratification. Congress has pushed its way into the debate by introducing the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which would provide the EPA with the authority to phase down the manufacture of HFCs in the U.S.
U.S. Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Tom Carper (D-Del.) recently introduced the bill, which they believe will provide certainty for businesses in the U.S. on the worldwide transition towards next-generation coolants. “Our bipartisan AIM Act continues support for American development and manufacturing of next-generation HFC-alternatives, while also protecting our environment and helping the U.S. meet its obligations under the amended Montreal Protocol – a true win-win,” said Sen. Carper. “After more than a decade of work to support domestic manufacturing of HFC-alternative products, our efforts are clearly paying off with American companies leading the world in this growing industry.”
It is unclear whether Trump will sign off on the Kigali Amendment or the AIM Act. However, while it may take several years, most in the industry foresee a future without HFCs.