Green America’s Cool It campaign tackles potent, dangerous greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are used for refrigerant management and that are exacerbating the climate crisis.
Congress has introduced a new bill with bipartisan support (S. 2754), the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, to bolster our national economy and phase down the use of HFCs as refrigerants.
This is great news for the climate because HFCs have up to 9,000 times more warming power than carbon dioxide. As the gases leak out of refrigeration systems, there is not only an environmental benefit to phasing down HFCs, but also a significant economic one. There are available alternatives which can help businesses cut costs. Many refrigerants with zero or near-zero impact on the climate are shown to be more energy efficient than HFCs, reducing energy costs.
Improved refrigerant management is a win for businesses and the climate. This legislation is a critical step to achieving the substantial benefits of better refrigerant practices. The AIM Act is projected to create 150,000 U.S. jobs and generate nearly $39 billion in economic benefits annually by 2027. This will keep the United States competitive in the changing, global refrigerants market.
Green America's Refrigerant Management Testimony
On April 7, 2020 the Green Business Network submitted the following testimony in support of The American Innovation and Manufacturing Act. The Act supports both job creation and the reduction of climate-changing emissions (HFCs or hydroflurocarbons). Below is testimony from Green America's Executive Co-Director Fran Teplitz.
Green America greatly appreciates the opportunity to provide this written testimony on S. 2754, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act.
We are pleased to support this bipartisan legislation, which will create economic growth in the refrigerants sector while phasing down substances that devastate our climate. The measures in this legislation will ensure that the United States is a leader on this issue and that our industry will remain competitive in the rapidly changing landscape of the global refrigerant market.
Green America is a national non-profit organization founded in 1982 to harness economic power – the strength of consumers, investors, businesses, and the marketplace – to create a socially just and environmentally sustainable society. We represent over 250,000 individual members and activists and more than 2,000 business members, most of which are smaller businesses and leaders in innovation and sustainable practices. These businesses consistently prove that sustainability can also be good for their business and enhance their bottom line.
The AIM Act is a bipartisan, commonsense measure to bolster American manufacturers and reduce the use of substances that warm our atmosphere at extremely high rates. It is modeled after the Montreal Protocol’s highly successful phasedown of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in order to protect our ozone layer. However, the void left by the phasedown of CFCs was replaced with hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that do not impact the ozone layer but are extraordinarily damaging to our climate.
HFCs are manmade greenhouse gases with up to 9,000 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. They are the fastest growing greenhouse gas and if left unrestricted, could contribute half a degree Celsius of warming by the end of the century, quickly accelerating us beyond the limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming as set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
These gases leak out through faulty refrigeration systems, meaning there is not only an environmental benefit to phasing down HFCs, but also a significant economic one. There are available alternatives which can help businesses cut costs. Many refrigerants with zero or near-zero Global Warming Potential (GWP) are shown to be more energy efficient than HFCs, reducing energy costs.
Additionally, while this legislation outlines the gradual phase down of the production and use of HFCs, it could also lead to better refrigerant management, such as improvements in leak monitoring and repair. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that supermarket retailers lose one quarter of refrigerant due to leaks. The Environmental Investigation Agency reports that the sector’s refrigerant leaks equate to 45 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent annually. If these leaks were reduced, the industry would save an estimated $108 million every year. Clearly, improved refrigerant management is a win for businesses and the climate.
This legislation is a critical step to achieving the substantial benefits of better refrigerant practices. The AIM Act is projected to create 150,000 U.S. jobs and generate nearly $39 billion in economic benefits annually by 2027. This will keep the United States competitive in the changing global refrigerants market. For all these reasons, this legislation has sweeping industry support.
Reducing HFC refrigerants will work to address their severe impact on the climate, as well as support American suppliers and businesses. Therefore, Green America supports the passage of the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act, S. 2754 and its companion bill H.R. 5544, however, our organization strongly opposes any state preemption provisions or amendments. While we support passing and upholding a robust national standard and program, including a provision for preemption is unnecessary and could weaken support of this legislation.
Please contact us for any further information on Green America, our Green Business Network, and our support of this legislation.