EPA is proposing a ban on several HFC’s, including 134a, based on ozone depletion and global warming potential. In the July 9, 2014, Federal Register, EPA is announcing the ban, or very limited use, of several halofluorcarbons (HFC’s) including 134a, the “FREON” used in light vehicle A/C units and small refrigeration units. The 134a ban would go into effect in 2021. This is done under the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) which evaluates these substances for potential for ozone depletion and climate change. HFC-134a was the “safe” alternative for R-12 but the NRDC petitioned for it’s removal and the EPA appears to have worked with the petitioner to get a complete petition.
EPA doesn’t say how much global temperature reduction this action or what the reduction in global temperature expected from this action other than to say it is part of an agreement with Mexico and Canada under the Montreal Protocol to reduce the global warming potential from this class of chemicals 90 gigatons CO2e by 2050. Under the SNAP program CO2 is a viable substitute for HFC’s for a number of applications. There was no mention in the rule if the CO2e reduction included the use of CO2 as a substitute.
A ban on substances without any cost analysis other than the use of the words “cost effective” and an expectation that 99% of small businesses will have zero compliance costs with no mention of retrofits or price increases for equipment replacements, no estimate of global warming reduction and, lastly, no real discussion on the ozone hole and exactly what this would do for that.
I wonder how much the retrofit from 134a will be on the ’89 that had the 134a retrofit for R12?