Dems to EPA: Act Now on Potent Greenhouse Gas

Carper: Aims at "patchwork" regs.
National Journal
Dec. 4, 2013, 8:16 a.m.

A group of House and Sen­ate Demo­crats is press­ing EPA for quick ac­tion to curb use of po­tent green­house gases used in air con­di­tion­ers, re­fri­ger­at­ors, and oth­er equip­ment.

Sen. Thomas Carp­er, D-Del., Rep. Scott Peters, D-Cal­if., and 14 col­leagues wrote to EPA Ad­min­is­trat­or Gina Mc­Carthy ur­ging her not to wait for com­ple­tion of new in­ter­na­tion­al plans to ad­dress hy­dro­fluoro­car­bons.

In Septem­ber, the U.S., China, and oth­er G-20 mem­bers vowed to work un­der the Montreal Pro­tocol — a 1980s treaty ini­tially struck to pro­tect the ozone lay­er — to phase down pro­duc­tion and use of HFCs.

But the Demo­crats say EPA can take ac­tion while that’s all be­ing worked out.

“Re­cog­niz­ing that it may take some time to amend the Montreal Pro­tocol and in­cor­por­ate those changes in­to U.S. reg­u­la­tions, we be­lieve the EPA does not need to wait to im­ple­ment smart policies that can help ac­cel­er­ate these trans­itions in the United States and glob­ally,” the law­makers’ let­ter states.

The Montreal Pro­tocol led to the phas­ing down of chem­ic­als that were de­plet­ing the ozone lay­er. But one side ef­fect was to in­crease the use of HFCs in their place, and the let­ter notes that use is slated to quickly rise world­wide.

“The in­creased HFC use is good for the ozone lay­er, but evid­ently not good for our cli­mate. Un­for­tu­nately, it is now de­term­ined that HFC com­pounds can have a very high glob­al-warm­ing po­ten­tial,” the law­makers write, adding that left un­checked, HFCs could ac­count for 20 per­cent of green­house-gas pol­lu­tion by 2050.

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