A global hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown appears to be imminent, with Canada proposing domestic regulations on HFCs to meet their eventual obligations under the Montreal Protocol. Canada’s proposal is bold – combining an HFC phasedown with product-specific controls that are closely aligned with the U.S. EPA’s Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program.
This March, the Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) released its proposal for significant controls on HFCs. The proposed approach combines a phasedown of HFCs from a calculated baseline and a series of product-specific controls for certain sectors. The proposal reflects comments ECCC received throughout the consultation process and aligns, where possible, with the U.S. EPA’s SNAP program.
The proposed regulation’s objective is not only to reduce HFC use and consumption, but also to avoid future emissions of HFCs, with the ultimate goal of minimizing the country’s impact on climate.
Internationally, Canada continues to lead efforts to promote a global phasedown of HFCs, under the Montreal Protocol. Negotiations are ongoing to determine the national and international targets for HFC reduction. The actions outlined in the proposal are intended to meet Canada’s expected obligations under the Montreal Protocol once an HFC amendment is adopted.
Product-specific controls addressing the fire protection sector are not yet included in the Canadian proposal. However, HFCs used in fire extinguishing applications, including FM-200™, will be severely impacted by the HFC phasedown component of this proposal because, like the proposals for a global HFC phasedown, this proposal is based on CO2 equivalents and the HFCs sold into fire suppression have some of the highest global warming potentials relative to HFCs sold into other sectors. This regulatory framework creates substantial uncertainty for the future availability and cost of HFCs. Specifiers and end-users of fire suppression systems need to stay current with the global initiatives impacting HFCs. To better understand the future consequences of these regulatory initiatives, one need not look further than the path taken by halon. Specifiers can avoid the inherent uncertainty in future supply and cost of HFCs by specifying low GWP alternatives, like 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid, to help protect their people, assets, operations and the environment – all of it.
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