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    States Lead the Way on Climate Initiatives and HFC Emissions Reductions

    April 12, 2019

    Panoramic Wind Farm Landscape
    States Lead the Way on Climate Initiatives and HFC Emissions Reductions

    • A new model is developing for comprehensive climate action in the U.S. as states take up the mantle of furthering climate policy, including regulation of compounds with a high global warming potential such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). In 2017, the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement on climate change, and a court ruling determined that the EPA exceeded its statutory authority under the Clean Air Act when it sought to regulate high-global warming potential chemicals such as HFCs under its Significant New Alternatives Policy Program (SNAP). As an outcome of this, in 2018, state governors and legislatures formed coalitions such as the United States Climate Alliance to work collaboratively towards a more sustainable future.

    What is the United States Climate Alliance?

    • The United States Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 17 states that have committed themselves to taking strong action through executive orders, legislation and other local and regional efforts to make an impact on the global climate challenge. The alliance is focused on state-to-state cooperation to accelerate the deployment of climate solutions needed to help each achieve their climate goals. The states involved represent 40 percent of the U.S. population and $9 trillion of the U.S. economy. The alliance commits to implementing policies that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement, with a target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. 

      Alliance states recently taking action on HFCs include:

      • California – California has long led the way on climate and sustainability policy. 2016 Super Pollutant Reduction Act spearheaded by state Senator Ricardo Lara committed the state to a goal of 40% reduction in state HFC emissions by 2030.

        The California Cooling Act, California Senate Bill 1013, passed in September 2018, went further by incorporating the vacated EPA SNAP rules regulating HFCs into state law, with some modifications to the dates. It also empowered the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to incentivize the development of replacement technologies and prohibit risky substitutes.

      During a single week in early September 2018, Connecticut, Maryland and New York all also announced their plans to phase down HFCs:

      • Connecticut – Then Governor Dannel Malloy asked Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to begin developing regulations to phase down HFCs. According to the governor’s office, “the transition to [HFC] alternatives is vital in meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement and Connecticut’s own Global Warming Solution Act, as well as limiting global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius.”
      • Maryland – Following up on a 2016 law committing the state to a 40 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, Governor Larry Hogan announced that the Maryland Department of the Environment would be developing a plan for an HFC phase down in refrigerants and foam products.
      • New York –Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a draft regulation for phasing down HFCs in new and retrofitted consumer products in New York between 2020-2024, including refrigeration, air conditioning, aerosol and other applications. The state also committed to funding alternative solutions with as much as $10 million for retrofitting equipment, encouraging alternative chemicals and other projects.

    Powering innovation with incentives

    • Several states have paired restrictions with incentives to drive innovation in the market for HFC alternatives in all applications. By 2030 at the latest – and in some cases, such as New York, by 2024 or earlier – states in the United States Climate Alliance have set an expectation that industry will work with regulators to make changes and meet substantial emission reduction goals. This fragmentation of the HFC regulatory environment within the U.S. poses a challenge to businesses seeking a single national standard to follow, but also opens up an opportunity for them to support state and local regulations with sustainable technologies that explore new ways to reduce emissions of potent greenhouse gases such as HFCs.

      To support such efforts, 3M has a broad portfolio of Novec™ branded fluids that are sustainable  alternatives to HFCs in applications such as fire suppression and solvent cleaning, among others.  3M™ Novec™ Fluids are not subject to regulatory phase downs or restrictions and combine exceptional performance with environmental sustainability and human safety. Contact 3M to learn more.

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