In a fresh snub to the climate-change-denying Trump administration, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has directed the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to draw up rules to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a group of potent greenhouse gas pollutants used in a wide variety of applications, including some refrigerators and air conditioners. The regulations would adopt the 2015 and 2016 changes to the Significant New Alternatives Policy that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is abandoning.
“While the Trump administration denies climate change and rolls back efforts to protect our planet, New York is picking up the mantle of climate leadership and forging a path forward," Cuomo said in a statement. "I encourage other states to join with New York and California to combat dangerous HFCs. In New York we believe denial is not a life strategy."
The regulations would prohibit specific substances for use in new consumer products, new equipment and equipment that is retrofit after the compliance dates, including aerosol propellants, commercial and residential food refrigeration equipment, commercial air-conditioning equipment, light-duty vehicle air-conditioning, and foam-blowing agents. The phase out, which would be implemented from 2020-2024, is expected to reduce HFC emissions by more than 20 percent of projected levels by 2030.
New York's proposal will also help to achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, as well as the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to reduce the use of HFCs as a substitute for ozone-depleting substances. In addition, U.S.-based businesses that produce permissible substitutes for HFCs will benefit from New York's action.
New York is also taking aggressive measures to help consumers access energy-efficient appliances and other solutions to reduce their carbon footprint. The State offers rebates for certain new appliance or equipment purchases, and consumers statewide can access energy-efficiency programs through either the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority or their local utility.
New York will announce this new step against HFCs at the Global Climate Action Summit being held later this week in San Francisco.
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