- Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Media Contact for Massachusetts Joins Other New England States to Propose Regulations Prohibiting Use of HFC Pollutants
Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that it plans to propose regulations, concurrent with similar efforts in the states of Maine and Rhode Island, to prohibit the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the fastest-growing source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions nationally and in Massachusetts. HFCs are currently used in certain end-use products, such as aerosols, air conditioners and chillers, refrigeration units and foams. The proposed regulations will help to significantly reduce local GHG emissions, and will place the Commonwealth in line with 16 other states adopting comparable HFC regulations or legislation, coordinated by the U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA).
“I am proud to join with the other governors in the U.S. Climate Alliance in moving to prohibit the use of HFCs and bring Massachusetts closer to achieving its ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “For the Commonwealth to meet our goal to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, we will need to act to curb high-emitting sources like HFCs, and this plan represents a great opportunity to combat climate change and preserve our environment.”
“We must use every tool at our disposal to take urgent action on climate change,” said Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo. “In the absence of federal leadership, I’m proud to stand with governors on both sides of the aisle who recognize the dangers of HFCs. It’s time to regulate these harmful pollutants.”
“HFCs are the heavy hitter of climate change, inflicting significantly more damage than CO2 in much smaller doses,” said Maine Governor Janet Mills. “With safer alternatives now available, the gradual phase out of these super pollutants makes sense for consumers, businesses, and our environment. I am proud to join with other governors from the U.S. Climate Alliance in taking this step. Our actions show that, regardless of what happens – or doesn’t happen – in Washington, states can forge important progress in fighting climate change.”
In 2018, HFC emissions in Massachusetts reached 3.69 million metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent (MMTCO2E), and HFC emissions are expected to reach 5 million metric tons in 2030 if action is not taken.
“Phasing out HFCs is an opportunity for businesses across Massachusetts and the country to innovate and grow the economy, and to protect residents from climate-warming pollutants,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Coupled with new innovations in refrigeration and cooling, phasing out the use of HFCs and replacing them with lower impact alternatives not only improves energy efficiency, but delivers significant environmental benefits to every community across the Commonwealth.”
“HFCs impact the climate at many times the rate of carbon dioxide, so cutting emissions from these potent pollutants will lead to immediate benefits,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “Partnering with our colleagues in Maine, Rhode Island and the other Climate Alliance states is a smart and effective way to cut emissions and protect the environment for future generations.”
The Executive Office and Energy and Environmental Affairs and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) expect to develop a draft regulation this spring, which will be available for public review and comment. A public hearing will also be scheduled. In anticipation of that announcement, MassDEP held stakeholder meetings last November across the Commonwealth, providing an overview of a model HFC rule developed by the U.S. Climate Alliance, and solicited feedback on the model rule.
“HFCs are one of the fastest-rising sectors of greenhouse gas emissions, and they will continue to impact our environment unless we take action to eliminate them from common use across our society,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “These new regulations – along with similar efforts across the country – mark an important step in reducing emissions, protecting the environment and safe-guarding the public health.”
The U.S. Climate Alliance (USCA) is a bipartisan coalition of governors committed to smart, coordinated state action that can ensure that the United States continues to contribute to the global effort to address climate change. The principles of the USCA include:
- Implementation of polices that advance the goals of the Paris Agreement, aiming to reduce GHG emissions by at least 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025;
- Tracking and reporting progress to the global community in appropriate settings, including when the world convenes to take stock of the Paris Agreement; and
- Accelerating new and existing policies to reduce carbon pollution and promote clean energy deployment at the state and federal level.
HFCs are synthetic gases and, historically, replaced ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as a refrigerant. For more information on HFCs and their impact on climate change, see here.