Biden administration unveils its first regulation to curb greenhouse gases

Biden administration unveils its first regulation to curb greenhouse gases
Michael Regan (Image via Twitter)

By Thomas Catenacci

The Biden administration announced a rule curbing the use of a potent chemical used in household appliances, marking its first regulation on greenhouse gases.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will release a rule Thursday phasing down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the White House said. The regulation will cut HFC emissions by 85% over the next 15 years.

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“EPA’s historic action is a major step towards addressing the climate crisis by slashing these ‘super pollutants,’” EPA Administrator Michael Regan tweeted. “It also reaffirms when (President Joe Biden)⁩ thinks about climate, he thinks about jobs.”

Manufacturers of refrigerators, air conditioners and other appliances or materials that use HFCs will be forced to transition to “next-generation technologies,” an EPA announcement said. The action will maintain and create hundreds of thousands of union jobs in the U.S., according to the White House.

Several leading industry associations led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers issued a statement supporting the regulation, arguing it would improve the environment, lead to more innovation and create jobs.

“We applaud the EPA for finalizing a balanced HFC Allocation Rule on time, a critical step in phasing down hydrofluorocarbons over the next fifteen years and a win-win for both the climate and the economy,” the organizations said in a statement.

“The plan allows U.S. manufacturers to maintain a technological advantage over foreign competitors in the global marketplace in supporting an appropriate transition, while creating thousands of new and good paying jobs in the U.S.,” the statement continued.

They added that the action and similar ones worldwide could reduce global warming by up to 0.5 degrees Celsius.

The bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which Congress passed and former President Donald Trump signed in December as part of a sweeping omnibus package, authorized the EPA to implement the 15-year HFC phase down. The bill was first introduced by Republican Sen. John Kennedy in 2019.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, a left-leaning environmental think tank, said the AIM Act was the top “climate win” of the previous Congress.

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