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The White House is set to announce new limits on HFCs, a powerful driver of climate change.


WASHINGTON — The Biden administration has finalized a rule to phase out the use of a powerful planet-warming chemical used in air conditioners and refrigerators.

Under a regulation expected to be issued Thursday morning, the Environmental Protection Agency will reduce the use of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, by 85 percent over the next 15 years. The White House will also announce a task force and other enforcement efforts to prevent the illegal manufacture or import of the destructive man-made compound.

HFCs were used in the 1980s to replace the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons, but have been found to be a major driver of global warming. Although they are only a small percentage of greenhouse gases and remain in the atmosphere for a short time, they have a thousand times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide, the most common climate pollutant.

A fact sheet released by the White House called the series of policies “one of the federal government’s most sweeping climate actions” and said it would reduce the equivalent of three years of climate pollution from the electricity sector. Experts said the rule would go a long way toward fulfilling President Biden’s pledge to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.

The move comes on the heels of a pact between the United States and Europe to eliminate a third of global emissions of methane, another potent greenhouse gas, by 2030. and Iraq. The Biden administration is also about to propose new regulations for the oil and gas sector, the largest industrial source of methane.

As countries prepare for global climate talks set to take place in Glasgow in less than six weeks, the Biden administration is under mounting pressure to show it can meet that goal, especially as broad US climate legislation faces an uncertain future in Congress. goes.

White House climate adviser Gina McCarthy said in a statement that reducing HFCs “was necessary to meet the moment” on global warming. She called the policy “a victory for the climate and a victory for American manufacturing.”

Environmental groups and industry have called for the phasing out of HFCs and supported a 2016 accord signed in the final days of the Obama administration in Kigali, Rwanda, as well as the related bipartisan legislation passed by Congress in December. Several industry leaders said the White House had told them that Mr. Biden plans to send the Kigali accord to the Senate for ratification soon.

Stephen R. Yurek, president and CEO of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute, a trade association, said the approval of the Kigali accord was important, even though the United States was already implementing it.

“It’s about reputation and credibility,” he said. Participating formally in the wider global effort, he said, was “good for the environment, good for the economy and good for trade.”

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