New round of HFC ban

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?

11 responses to “New round of HFC ban

  1. I send this link to Senator Burr (R) North Carolina along with a request that he support controls being implemented on the EPA.

  2. We need to ban the most toxic of substances: EPA activists.

    It is nice of them to provide this example of why we should never accept their idea of “acceptable alternatives”.
    Why take the financial hit when they will move to ban the replacement before you get much use out of it.

  3. Follow the money.

    Few people mention or are aware that the push to replace R-12 with HFC-134a started after R-12’s patent expired.

    Question: What is the status of the HFC-134a patent, and who owns it?

    Cui bono?

    Just a thought.


  4. “R-12 was used in most refrigeration and vehicle air conditioning applications prior to 1994 before being replaced by 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane (R-134a), which has an insignificant ozone depletion potential.”

    According to Wiki R134a won’t harm ozone. So what is new.

  5. I never did see any persuasive evidence that HFCs, CFCs, HCFCs, and the like were a serious threat to the ‘ozone layer’.
    It is interesting, though, that the ‘research’ that implicated these halocarbons in ozone depletion was performed largely by the same company (DuPont) that held the (doomed to expire in 1979) patent (“Process for Fluorinating Halohydrocarbons”, U.S. Patent #3258500) on their production, as well as the (relatively recent, at the time) patents on the production of the replacements. DuPont representatives appeared before the Montreal Protocol urging that CFCs be banned worldwide and stated that their new HCFCs would meet the worldwide demand for refrigerants.
    Title this “How to Protect a Patent Monopoly When The Patents Expire.”
    The ozone layer seems to be exactly where it has always been with the same slightly stochastic by strongly seasonal variations it always had – halocarbons notwithstanding – even though the CFCs have dropped significantly since Kyoto and Montreal. If the CFCs had been a problem, I would have expected the ozone layer to have strengthened in their absence.

    • You say the patent was doomed to expire in 1979. The Montreal Protocol was in 1987. Work on your conspiracy theory a little harder.

  6. When I was employed in a clean room in 1964 we used freon in a tank with a warm coil on the top. To keep the freon in the tank. Freon is heavier than air so will be absorbed by the surface activities of the atmosphere. How do heavy CFC’s get to the outer edge of the atmosphere? Got me?

  7. The first 100% scam, predecessor to the climate change scam.
    Fluorocarbons were the purge agents for the tanks used in the original atmospheric tests. At the time they subtracted the purge agent. Later people with agendas looked at the same data and did not subtract the tank purge agent. Instant crisis.
    Fluorocarbons are the last things that SETTLE OUT out forest fire cloud plumes. The forest service used to track fire cones with this technique.

    • The amount of Ozone that was being depleted at the time could have been replaced by releasing a compressed tank of ozone from a high flying jet once a month, approximately. The cost would have been negligible until the “Science was Settled” back then.

  8. Rick Meckstroth

    Nasa data shows the ozone hole size peaked out in 2006 and is dropping now, which would support correlation with R134a being introduced in 94, with all the R12 that was in vehicles depleted by 2006. Or, we may just be observing a natural ozone hole size cycle. I’m just an observing engineer with no dog in this fight. R134a was good for AC system design in cars because we got the cost guys at the auto company I worked for to temporally quit thrifting our AC systems such that we got more expensive less permeable hoses, and larger condensers, both of which improved the AC systems on our cars, at the expense of customers, but we all remained competitive with each other.

    I am very skeptical about man-made CO2 impacting our global temps. I follow Dr. Roy Spencer on that issue, who claims based on NASA satellite data that the CO2 heat entrapment effect has been over-estimated.

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