WASHINGTON (Sept. 19, 2014) — The Obama Administration is leading an international effort to voluntarily phase-out production and use of the coolant R-134a and other hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
In the 1990s HFCs emerged as replacements to “freon” and other chemicals associated with depleting the Earth's ozone layer. However, SEMA said, HFCs are significant greenhouse gases—potentially 10,000 times more potent per ounce than carbon dioxide.
A report in SEMA's eNewsletter said the Obama Administration “is working with U.S. industry to switch to more environmentally friendly alternative refrigerants, such as HFO1234YF.
“The administration is also asking other countries to take similar actions and is seeking implementation through an amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which covers ozone depletion.”
Earlier this year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed banning the use of HFC-134a as a motor-vehicle air-conditioning system refrigerant starting with model-year 2021 new vehicles.
In early 2011 the EPA approved HFO-1234yf as a new air-conditioning refrigerant for use in new cars and light trucks to help meet federal standards for greenhouse gas emissions. According to the agency, and independent studies, HFO-1234yf has a global-warming potential (GWP) that is 99.7-percent less than the current chemical, HFC-134a, used in most car A/C units.