US Senate approves HFC treaty

September 23, 2022

Read the full article by Cheryl Hogue (C&EN)

"The Senate voted 69–27 on Sept. 21 to allow the US to join an international treaty to curb the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons.

HFCs are industrial gases used in a slew of applications, including as refrigerants in air conditioners and freezers. They are potent greenhouse gases.

In late 2020, Congress passed a law that authorizes the federal government to meet the terms of the pact, the 2016 Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol. Using that law, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a regulation last year to reduce allowable US production and use of HFCs to 15% of 2011–13 average levels by 2036. Such reduction will meet Kigali amendment requirements.

But because the Senate had not ratified the Kigali deal, the US could not participate as a full treaty partner in international talks related to the pact. Almost a year ago, President Joe Biden asked the Senate to formally endorse the agreement. The Constitution requires at least 67 senators to vote for a treaty to ratify it. Because Democrats currently hold a single-vote majority in the Senate, approval of the amendment required support of some Republicans."