Maryland joins U.S. Climate Alliance states in reducing potent greenhouse gases
BALTIMORE (Sept. 11, 2018) – Demonstrating the state’s commitment to meeting greenhouse gas reduction goals, Maryland will be pursuing measures to phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that are significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.
The Maryland Department of the Environment will develop regulations to phase out the use of the certain HFCs in foam products and refrigeration. Maryland is joining other U.S. Climate Alliance states in moving to phase out the use of HFCs. This action will help Maryland meet its requirements under the state’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act.
“This is an important and necessary step in our ongoing efforts to reach Maryland’s greenhouse gas reduction goals,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Our administration is committed to climate leadership by preventing pollution and partnering with other states, businesses, and advocates to make critical progress toward protecting and preserving our environment.”
“These fast-acting super-pollutants are a major threat to our climate progress and deserve to be phased out at the state and federal level,” said Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles.
In moving to phase out HFCs, Maryland is acting in concert with commitments of the U. S. Climate Alliance and other states that are alliance members to reduce climate-harming “super pollutants” such as HFCs. Secretary Grumbles is representing Maryland at the Global Climate Action Summit this week in San Francisco.
Fighting climate change in Maryland
In partnership with members of the Maryland General Assembly, Governor Hogan in 2015 signed legislation to strengthen and expand the Maryland Commission on Climate Change. The governor signed into law the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Act of 2016, which requires reductions of greenhouse gases in Maryland by 40 percent by 2030 – requirements that are among the most aggressive in the country and significantly more stringent than those in the Paris Climate Accord – while continuing to have a net positive effect on both the economy and job creation in Maryland. Earlier this year, Governor Hogan announced Maryland’s commitment to participation in the U. S. Climate Alliance.
Maryland is also a member of the multi-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Other recent climate initiatives include an announcement last month that MDE, in conjunction with the Maryland Energy Administration and the Maryland Department of Transportation , has developed a draft spending plan that would invest tens of millions of dollars in settlement money from the Volkswagen “defeat devices” case toward the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the replacement of old, dirty diesel engines with clean diesel engines and other strategies to help improve air quality.
Climate change and hydrofluorocarbons
Under a federal Clean Air Act program designed to identify and evaluate alternatives to stratospheric ozone-depleting substances, HFCs have been one of the most common alternatives. However, HFCs are extremely potent greenhouse gases. One pound of one type of HFC is as potent as as much as 1,400 pounds of carbon dioxide.
After efforts have stalled at the federal level, states have begun their own phase out initiatives. The Maryland Department of the Environment intends to develop regulations similar to those in development in California, which would phase out the use of certain HFCs in foam products and in refrigeration equipment in retail establishments, such as supermarkets. The phase out of HFCs will encourage the use of substances with lower greenhouse gas emissions. Products with alternatives to HFCs are already available. Other states in the United States Climate Alliance are expected to take similar steps.