What to expect from the EPA’s new rules affecting air conditioners and refrigerators

Near-Record Heat Wave Grips U.S. East Coast, Midwest
A shopper walks down an aisle of in-wall air conditioners at a Lowe’s home improvement store August 2, 2006 in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  | Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

“Super” greenhouse gases will soon be phased down in air conditioners and refrigerators in the US. The Environmental Protection Agency yesterday proposed new rules to cut the use of the “super” pollutants used as refrigerants, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), by 85 percent over 15 years. Consumers likely won’t notice much of a difference with their appliances, but lawmakers are anticipating big benefits for the planet.

The EPA plans to determine a baseline for HFC production and consumption, and then set limits on companies making and importing HFCs. Those caps would become stricter over time. This is the agency’s first major new regulation taking on climate change under the Biden administration, and it makes good on a bipartisan commitment…

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