State announces it will follow California in introducing legislation requiring the adoption of HFC alternatives for purposes such as refrigeration and air conditioning
New York is the latest US state to commit to phase-out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in an attempt to spur others to follow suit in defiance of US government policy.
State governor Andrew Cuomo said this week that he would direct the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to follow California’s example in introducing regulation pushing for a move away from relying on the greenhouse gasses.
The commitments will ratify changes introduced in 2015 and 2016 to the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) concerning HFCs. These were dropped by the government of President Donald Trump.
Mr Cuomo said New York hoped to pick up the mantle of climate leadership in the US in protest at what he called efforts by the Trump administration to roll back environmental protections and deny the impact of climate change.
He said, “We are taking action to begin the phase out of the use of hydrofluorocarbons, and I encourage other states to join with New York and California to combat dangerous HFCs. In New York we believe denial is not a life strategy, and we will continue to fight climate change to protect our economy, our planet and our future.”
The regulatory amendments, which are expected to come into effect between 2020 and 2024, will see specific substances banned from being used in new consumers products along with refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.
HFC emissions from the state are intended to be cut by over 20 per cent by 2030 as a result of the phase-out in order to support the state in meeting key requirements of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol
The governor’s office said that it expected US-based businesses producing HFC alternatives to benefit from its stance on greenhouse gasses.
State funds have also been set aside to aid the phase-out efforts, including US$9m made available through the Climate Smart Communities programme for greenhouse gas mitigation. It will also support work to curb refrigerant leakage, as well as to retrofit or replace cooling equipment with products that can support lower-GWP gas.
The governor’s office said in a statement, “New York is also taking aggressive measures to help consumers access energy efficient appliances and other solutions to reduce their carbon footprint.”
“The state offers rebates for certain new appliance or equipment purchases, and consumers state-wide can access energy efficiency programs through either NYSERDA or their local utility.”
This commitment to encourage the replacement of ozone-depleting substances by prohibiting use of certain refrigerants falls in line with an EPA ruling from 2015 that is presently being appealed at the Supreme Court.
The initial EPA ruling, which deemed HFC use as “unacceptable”, was ordered to be revised last year by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals after it came out in favour of a motion raised by refrigerant manufacturers Arkema and Mexichem. The court argued that the agency did not have the authority to rule on HFC use in this case.
Having been overturned by three judges from the DC Circuit Court of Appeals as part of an en banc review, an effort to reinstate the original EPA ruling is currently being considered by the Supreme Court at the behest of manufacturer Honeywell.