Tags: Barack Obama | global warming | coolant | chemicals | potent | Obama | environment

Obama Announces Coolant Phase-Out to Help in Global-Warming Fight

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 12:35 PM

President Barack Obama, whose administration is moving quickly to enhance his environmental legacy, wants a quicker phase-out of the popular coolant chemicals used in homes and offices amid concerns they are hastening global warming, the Washington Post reports.

The administration is seeking voluntary commitments from chemical manufacturers and retailers as it seeks to draw down the use of R-134a chemicals, known more widely as hydroflurocarbons (HFC), which have replaced ozone-damaging coolant chemicals like Freon.

Because of their collective frequency of use around the world — "up to10,000 times as potent per ounce as carbon dioxide, according to climate change scientists," the Post noted — such chemicals are thought to be adding to climate change problems.

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Along with encouraging the discontinuance of HFCs, the White House is also working on the diplomatic front to ask other nations to join its campaign against greenhouse gas production. The interest comes ahead of an upcoming U.N. summit on Sept. 23 where build-up of these gasses will be discussed, the Post noted.

Already the president has struck a deal with two dozen U.S. companies including Kroger, Pepsi and Honeywell, to reduce fluorocarbon emissions, The Washington Times reported Tuesday.

The administration, noted the Times, says such a deal, if followed through on, "will reduce greenhouse gases by 1.5 percent from 2010 levels, the equivalent of removing about 15 million vehicles from U.S. highways."

The new policy efforts follow on the heels of the Obama administration's crack down on power plant emissions, which has angered coal states and opponents who have charged such efforts will cause U.S. fuel prices to rise amid clean energy claims.

The new effort on HFCs seeks a buy-in on environmental policy from businesses and the private sector.

Noted the White House in making its announcement: "HFCs, factory-made gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration, are one of the strongest greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and are up to 10,000 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Unless we act now, U.S. HFC emissions are expected to nearly double by 2020 and triple by 2030," the administration said in a statement announcing its executive actions.

"The commitments made today would reduce cumulative global consumption of these greenhouse gases by the equivalent of 700 million metric tons of carbon dioxide through 2025, equivalent to 1.5% of the world's 2010 greenhouse gas emissions and the same as taking nearly 15 million cars off the road for 10 years."

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Administration officials are meeting Tuesday with 22 companies who have pledged to join his HFC reduction program, The Hill reported.

"The intended purpose is to highlight what we are doing and show North American leadership in this area," Steve Yurek, CEO of the Air Conditioning Heating and Refrigeration Institute, told The Hill. "You often hear that North America isn't doing anything but we have done more in the past 10 years and plan to do more in next 10 years."

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President Barack Obama, whose administration is moving quickly to enhance his environmental legacy, wants a quicker phase-out of the popular coolant chemicals used in homes and offices amid concerns they are hastening global warming, the Washington Post reports.
global warming, coolant, chemicals, potent, Obama, environment
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2014-35-16
Tuesday, 16 Sep 2014 12:35 PM
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