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EPA Proposes to Replace and Reduce Harmful Greenhouse Gases

Release Date: 07/10/2014
Contact Information: Enesta Jones, Jones.enesta@epa.gov, 202-564-7873, 202-564-4355; En español: Lina Younes, younes.lina@epa.gov, 202-564-9924, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to prohibit the use of certain chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change where safer, more climate-friendly alternatives exist. This is the agency’s second action aimed at reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases, under President Obama's Climate Action Plan.

This action is estimated to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 42 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of more than five million homes.

“President Obama called on us to take action against potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Today, we are issuing a new proposal that builds on the innovative work businesses across the country have already made to reduce and replace some of the most harmful chemicals with safer, more climate-friendly alternatives that are available and on the market today,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This action will not only result in significant reductions of harmful greenhouse gases, but it will also encourage businesses to continue bringing safer alternatives to market.”

Under the authority of the Clean Air Act, EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program evaluates substitute chemicals and technologies that are safe for the ozone layer. Today’s proposed action would change the status of certain high-global warming potential (GWP) HFCs that were previously listed as acceptable under the SNAP Program to be unacceptable in specific end-uses based on information showing that other alternatives are available for the same uses that pose lower risk overall to human health or the climate.

The HFCs and HFC-containing blends affected by today’s proposal are used in aerosols, motor vehicle air conditioning, retail food refrigeration and vending machines, and foam blowing.

Today’s proposal complements an earlier action EPA proposed to expand the list of climate-friendly alternatives for refrigeration and air conditioning under its SNAP Program.

The agency received input from industry, environmental groups and others through workshops and meetings over the past year on this proposal.

EPA will accept comment on the proposal for 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Learn more about EPA’s SNAP Program and the proposal:
http://www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/regulations.html