This week Governor Scott signed into law a bill (S. 30) which sets a schedule for phasing out the use of Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, statewide. HFCs are an entirely man-made class of chemicals used primarily for cooling and refrigeration.
Though originally introduced as an alternative to ozone-depleting substances, HFCs are powerful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Switching to safer alternatives will help curb the recent spike in atmospheric concentrations of HFCs.
While regulation is happening on the Federal level (though far more slowly under the Trump Administration than it had been), the VT Agency of Natural Resources has been working on more stringent rules to regulate these chemicals for some time. Vermont’s new law is modeled after HFC-reducing legislation already adopted in California and Washington and does not require the replacement of existing products still in working order.
“HFCs are climate killers,” said Kanika Gandhi, VPIRG Environmental Advocate. “This legislation means that Vermont will join with other leading states in phasing out these potent climate pollutants and transitioning to safer alternatives. VPIRG appreciates the work of legislative leaders in prioritizing this bill. There’s obviously much more to be done to address climate chaos, but this is a meaningful step forward.”