The Biden administration announced Thursday that the Environmental Protection Agency would adopt a new rule that will lead to the regulation of cooling chemicals used in refrigeration and air conditioning in an effort to cut down on the effects of climate change.
According to The Washington Post and CNBC, the rule will be the first new climate regulation Biden has instituted since he took office in January.
On Thursday, the EPA will adopt a new policy that will gradually phase down the emissions from hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). By 2036, the U.S. aims to curb the production and importation of chemicals by 85%.
The White House says such a reduction in HFCs will result in the reduction "of more than 4.5 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent by 2050," the equivalent of the pollutants produced in three years by the entire U.S. power sector.
“It’s a win on climate and a win on jobs, and American competitiveness,” said Gina McCarthy, the White House national climate coordinator, during a briefing with reporters Wednesday evening, according to the Post. “It’s really — frankly, folks — a very big deal.”
Grocery stores, which require large amounts of chemicals to keep industrial freezers and refrigerators cold, are often the biggest polluters of HFCs. Some chains, like Aldi and Whole Foods, have already taken steps in recent years to use alternative refrigerants.
According to CNBC, some manufacturers have already moved in recent years toward using more environmentally-friendly coolants. The Washington Post reports that the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute is supportive of the new rule.