An Update on the State By State HFC Phase-down

In the absence of the United States joining the Paris Climate Accord or ratifying the Kigali Amendment, states have begun to draft their own legislation to phase-down HFC refrigerants or intend to create regulations through the state’s EPA office. While many states have announced their plans to reduce HFCs, some states are much further along, regarding the legislative progress than others. Here is an update on where the some states are in the phase-out process.

States with supporting legislation approved and regulations being promulgated or discussed:

California– Through the California Air and Resources Board (CARB), California is by far the furthest along in its quest to enforce a state-wide phase-down of HFC refrigerants.

Beginning on January 1, 2019 high GWP refrigerants (including 404A and 507A) were banned, through the California Cooling Act, in the following applications: New and retrofit supermarket systems, new and retrofit remote condensing units, retrofit stand-alone units, and new stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity below 2,200 Btu/hour and not containing a flooded evaporator. On January 1, 2020, they will be banned in: new stand-alone medium-temperature units with a compressor capacity equal to or greater than 2,200 Btu/hour, stand-alone medium-temperature units containing a flooded evaporator, and stand-alone low-temperature units.

According to the plan, the maximum cut-off for GWP levels by year are as follows:

By 2021:

  • Prohibition of refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or greater in new refrigeration systems containing 50 or more lbs of refrigerant.
  • Prohibition of refrigerants with a GWP of 1,500 or greater in new refrigeration systems containing 20 to 50 lbs of refrigerant.
  • Prohibition of refrigerants with a GWP of 750 or greater in new air conditioning systems containing two or more lbs of refrigerant.
  • Prohibition of refrigerants with a GWP of 150 or greater in new chillers (refrigeration or air-conditioning).

Regarding the sale of high-GWP refrigerants, the Short Lived Climate Pollutants Strategy would include:

  • By 2020, no production, import, sale, distribution or entry into commerce of refrigerants with a GWP of 2500 or greater.
  • By 2024, no production, import, sale, distribution or entry into commerce of refrigerants with a GWP of 1500 or greater.

For more information see CARB’s website. There will also be an incentive program for low-GWP refrigeration but funding has not been allocated through the California legislature.

Massachusetts-  In 2016, Massachusetts Governor Baker signed an executive order “establishing an Integrated Climate Change Strategy for the Commonwealth, which included a directive to publish a Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP). ” In response to the executive order, The Comprehensive Energy Plan was published in December of 2018. It is likely that a short-lived climate pollutant phase-down will accompany the law.

 

New York- Governor Andrew Cuomo directed the New York Department of Energy and Conservation to propose a plan to phase-out HFCs. The DEC released their plan in September of 2018 which begins the phase-down of HFCs in applications like propellants and foam blowing agents in January 2020. Find full proposal here.  It is likely that a short-lived climate pollutant phase-down will accompany the law.

 

Connecticut- In 2015, Governor Dannel Malloy issued an Executive Order to create a state governors council on climate change. This council, named the GC3, developed a recommendation that included an economy-wide GHG emission reduction target of 45 percent below 2001 levels by 2030. The Connecticut General Assembly adopted the GC3’s proposal when they passed the An Act Concerning Climate Change Planning and Resiliency. Finally, Governor Malloy signed the recommendation into law. Relating specifically to HFC reduction, Governor Malloy asked Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environment Protection (DEEP) to create regulations that phase-out HFCs following California’s CARB regulations as a guide.

 

Maryland- Like many Governor’s previously mentioned, Governor Hogan signed a legislation in 2015 to strengthen Maryland’s Commission on Climate Change.  Following that legislation, the Governor signed the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016. The goal of this legislation is to achieve a 25% reduction in Maryland’s greenhouse gases by 2020. It is likely that a short-lived climate pollutant phase-down will accompany the law.

States with stated intentions to start legislation to phase down HFCs:

New Jersey– The New Jersey legislature introduced three pieces of legislation that will impact the HFC phase-down. As stated in ASHRAE’s Government Affairs Update: 

 “Senate Bills 3013, 3207 and 3291 (companion Assembly Bills 4417, 4821 and 4775 respectively) place new limits on HFCs and increase reduction targets previously enacted by the legislature. SB 3013 revises the 2050 limit on statewide greenhouse gas emissions to reduce those emissions by 13 million metric tons by that year, or 80% below the 2006 level. SB 3207 establishes new time frames for implementation of certain requirements in the state’s “Global Warming Response Act” and requires the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to adopt strategies to reduce short-lived climate pollutants. SB 3291 establishes a statewide HFC emission limit and requires DEP to establish a hydrofluorocarbon emissions monitoring and reporting program. All three of these bills have been referred to the Senate Environment and Energy Committee.”

Washington State– In December, Washington State’s governor, Jay Inslee, proposed climate change legislation that included $959,000 of funding to eventually phase-out HFCs or as his brief categorized them “super pollutants”.  This legislation would reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Washington state by 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2035. This proposal still needs to be enacted by the legislature before the Department of Ecology will begin the regulation process.

In the absence of a national HFC phase-down, states have resorted to their own timelines and regulations. This creates a difficulty for those in the HVACR industry to meet differing standards. At Dynatemp International we support a federally mandated HFC phase-down schedule. A federally mandated phase-down of HFCs, like the Kigali Amendment, would provide market clarity, access to global trade, and an increase in U.S. jobs. See more on the Kigali Amendment here. 

 

Sources:

http://hydrocarbons21.com/articles/8734/washington_governor_proposes_hfc_reduction_program

http://www.r744.com/articles/8796/california_expected_to_announce_gwp_regulation_for_acs_by_december?utm_source=shecco+natural+refrigerants&utm_campaign=d485e7aeb4-Bi-Weekly+Newsletter_20180731_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9db972ca57-d485e7aeb4-291794217

http://www.r744.com/articles/8531/new_york_to_phase_out_hfcs?utm_source=shecco+natural+refrigerants&utm_campaign=5501df3efb-Bi-Weekly+Newsletter_20180731_COPY_18&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9db972ca57-5501df3efb-291794217

http://www.ammonia21.com/articles/7929/carb_launches_rulemaking_for_epa_snap_rules

 

2019 Kigali Amendment Status Update

Last year we kept you informed on the status of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, a global phase-down of HFC refrigerants. As we head into 2019 we wanted to provide you with a quick recap and update on the progress of the amendment.

  •  The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is an agreement between the original members of the Montreal Protocol to phase-down HFC refrigerants by more than 80% over the next 30 years. If fully adopted the amendment has the potential to avoid up to 0.5ºC of warming by 2100.
  • In order for the Kigali Amendment to enter into force, 20 members of the Montreal Protocol had to ratify it by 1/1/19. That was successfully done with over 20 members and now the amendment has officially begun.
  •  Of the over 170 members of the Montreal Protocol who originally agreed on the amendment, to date, only 69 countries have ratified it. This could be because the two largest consumers and producers of HFC’s, the United States and China, have not said whether they will move forward with ratification or not. Without their participation, the amendment cannot reach it’s global phase-down goals and will be much less effective. This uncertainty hurts the HVACR industry. Numerous organizations, senators, and CEO’s of major companies in the HVACR industry have asked the administration to send the Kigali Amendment to the Senate for a vote in order to increase jobs, solidify global trade access, and provide certainty for research and development. See the full economic impact of what ratifying the Kigali Amendment would do for the U.S. economy here.
  • While there has been no indication that the United States will ratify Kigali under the current administration, if China ratifies the amendment, and U.S. does not, it could have huge trade implications for the United States. Beginning in 2033, those who have ratified the Kigali Amendment are banned from trading with those who have not. Consider if China moved forward with ratification, they would have the access to trade with Europe, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and many other major and developing countries and the U.S. would be isolated from trading with these countries.
  • Besides climate change and global trade implications, another major consequence of the United States not ratifying the Kigali Amendment is a state by state phase-down of HFCs that will confuse and complicate the marketplace. California has already implemented their own legislation to ban high GWP HFC’s in supermarket applications and starting in 2020 will ban R404A and R507a for new medium-temperature stand-alone units with a compressor capacity of 2,200 BTU/hr or greater, and containing a flooded evaporator, as well as for all new low-temperature stand-alone units. Following California’s lead, Washington state, New Jersey, and Massachusetts have legislation planned to phase-down HFC refrigerants and more states have indicated they will follow suit. It could become very hard for those in the HVACR industry to accommodate differing selling restrictions and phase-down plans on a state by state basis.
  • Interestingly, the absence of Kigali ratification has created more time for the natural refrigerant market to create guidelines and increase charge limit values, which the market needed in order to be widely adopted.
  • If Kigali is ratified we will need a replacement for HFC’s. Currently the best options are HFO’s and/or natural refrigerants. However, if the industry had certainty that the phase-down of HFC’s would be mandated through the Kigali Amendment there could be other HFC alternatives created through research and development.

 

 

Sources:

http://multimedia.3m.com/mws/media/1365924O/unep-fact-sheet-kigali-amendment-to-mp.pdf

http://r744.com/articles/8767/next_series_bans_on_hfcs_in_supermarkets_begin_in_california

https://ec.europa.eu/clima/sites/clima/files/faq_kigali_amendment_en.pdf

https://ozone.unep.org/node/101549

https://www.epa.gov/ozone-layer-protection/recent-international-developments-under-montreal-protocol

 

Many Oppose the EPA’s Proposed Revisions to Section 608 Refrigerant Management Rules

In our last post we discussed the EPA’s recent proposed revisions to the Section 608 Refrigerant Management Rules. These revisions would eliminate requirements for leak repair maintenance in stationary refrigerants and air conditioning equipment containing HFCs. The EPA accepted public comments on these proposed revisions and other possible rule revisions through November 15th, 2018. In total, there were 285 comments submitted through the EPA’s regulations.gov site. Dynatemp International submitted comments asking that the EPA not revise their leak repair provisions or the other possible revisions. A quote from our comments regarding HFC Certification rescission:

 Speaking with many HVAC wholesalers, the HFC certification rescission may have negative impacts on their liability and business. The benefit of certification is that wholesalers are able to sell refrigerants to a technician which has sufficient background and understanding of their liability of the Clean Air Act. Without EPA’s direct enforcement, requiring the wholesaler to verify certification acts as a local check on bad actors willing to buy refrigerants.

You can find our full comments here.

In addition to Dynatemp International’s opposition to the rule revisions, 15 US state Attorney Generals and the District of Columbia sent a letter to the EPA “strongly opposing” it’s proposed rule.

At the HARDI conference, Jeremy Arling, Lead Environmental Protection Specialist at US EPA, indicated that the EPA would release their decision on their proposed rule revisions around the beginning of 2019.  We will keep you informed as new information becomes available.

EPA Sends SNAP Change of Listing Status Rule to Office of Management and Budget

OMBWASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 – The SNAP change of listing status (de-listing) rule proposed in July 2014 was submitted by EPA to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on April 22 and received by OMB on April 24.  This initiates an Executive Order 12866 review by OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which can last up to 90 days.