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US senators propose national HFC phase down legislation

Bipartisan efforts have been announced to push for the introduction of clear national targets and a set timetable for moving away from HFC use in line with other global markets

New bipartisan legislation proposed in the US will attempt to introduce a national phasedown schedule to support the cooling industry to switch to lower GPW products from using HFC refrigerant.

Democratic senator Tom Carper and his Republican counterpart John Kennedy have proposed the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2019 as a means to authorise the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish targets for curbing industry reliance on HFCs.

Last month, several dozen refrigerant companies and system suppliers with operations in the US announced they would support the potential introduction of new federal legislation to tackle greenhouse gas emissions after previous commitments were struck down in the country’s courts.

Stephen Yurek, president of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), said that the new legislation was being proposed as a time when other global markets were introducing clear targets to move away from HFC use. Mr Yurek said that a federally mandated target would allow US companies and industry to help drive the transition in order to create additional jobs and ensure they have a competitive global presence.

He said, “Our industry has invested billions of dollars in the research necessary to develop the next generation of refrigerant technologies, which we’ve performed in concert with partners such as ASHRAE, the Department of Energy, and the California Air Resources Board.”

“This legislation makes good on that investment, creating regulatory certainty for manufacturers and helping those companies that are bringing to market the next generation of refrigerants that are vital to the health, safety, comfort, and productivity of the American people.”

The AHRI said in a statement that the HVACR industry has spent more than a decade advocating for a shift from HFC use as part of work to identify alternative refrigerants that are finding themselves coming to market.

Mr Yurek said the organisation now hoped that the Senate will move forward with efforts to expedite the bill into law.

He added, “We appreciate the leadership of Sens. Kennedy and Carper in introducing this legislation and helping create greater predictability as manufacturers prepare for the transition to more environmentally friendly refrigerants.”

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