It is widely known that the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in any industry contributes to global warming. Unfortunately, these types of greenhouse gas pollutants have not been recognized by the current US administration as being harmful to the environment. Despite the lax views on the issue by President Trump, NYS Governor Cuomo has notified the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that the agency will adhere to the 2015 and 2016 changes to the Significant New Alternatives Policy, which means that companies using hydrofluorocarbons for air conditioning, refrigerants, and aerosol propellants purposes (for example) will have to phase out* the the greenhouse gas pollutants in new products and equipment, as well as retrofitted goods.
New York has also established a Clean Energy Standard for half of its electricity to come from renewable sources by 2030.
“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,” Governor Cuomo said. “We are taking action to begin the phase out of the use of hydrofluorocarbons, and 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, and we will continue to fight climate change to protect our economy, our planet, and our future.”
What are hydrofluorocarbons? Here’s a video that explains the problem:
Cuomo’s stances on climate change are in accordance with the Paris Climate Agreement (and similar pacts), despite Trump’s backing away from the stepped up environmental standards. Moving forward, NYS municipalities will be provided with State funding (Environmental Protection Fund includes nearly $9 million through the Climate Smart Communities program) to help identify enhanced disposal programs and to recover and recycle refrigerants (among other initiatives). The Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) is contributing an additional $1 million to the effort. NYS consumers are asked to jump onboard, by purchasing products associated with energy efficiency programs through either NYSERDA or their local utility.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “This announcement demonstrates New York’s leadership in reducing high-intensity pollutants like HFCs and methane that contribute to climate change. Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York is working with other states in the U.S. Climate Alliance to reduce emissions of these dangerous pollutants and safeguard our children’s future. DEC’s development of the proposed regulation serves to implement the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Challenge that New York and other Climate Alliance states announced in June 2018.”
Cuomo is preparing to speak out about these latest climate control advancements at the Global Climate Action Summit being held on September 13-14 in San Francisco.
*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. DEC will be seeking input on this proposal prior to proceeding with a formal rulemaking, with the intent of finalizing a rule in 2019.
Lead image courtesy Climate Desk Countdown video