WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) hailed Senate passage of his amendment to S.2012, Energy Policy Modernization Act. Murphy’s amendment to increase federal usage of recycled refrigerants in federally-owned buildings would greatly reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a super pollutant and significant driver of climate change. Murphy, along with U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), introduced the Super Pollutants Act of 2015 – the Senate’s only bipartisan climate change bill – in September 2015.
“Don’t look now, but the Senate just unanimously passed a climate change measure,” said Murphy. “I pushed this amendment through because it’s a commonsense and cost-free way to combat climate change. Slowing the devastating effects of a changing climate will require all hands on deck and the federal government has the responsibility to lead the way.”
“Senate passage of this amendment, while modest in scope, shows there is real work that can be done across the aisle in Congress to fight climate change. Hopefully, I've whetted my colleagues appetite on the issue of lesser known climate pollutants like HFCs, and we can build on this momentum and pass my bipartisan Super Pollutants Act of 2015,” Murphy added.
Refrigerants are factory-made gases that are used to cool our homes, cars, and refrigerators. HFCs are the most widely used refrigerants globally, and the production, consumption, and emissions of these gases are growing at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year. Though HFCs are less harmful to the ozone layer than previously produced refrigerants, they have extremely high warming effects—thousands of times more powerful than CO2. Capturing, recycling, and reusing these refrigerants has the potential to dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Murphy amendment passed the Senate on Monday, February 1. It directs the General Services Administration to issue guidance giving preference to recycled and reclaimed refrigerants to service existing equipment in federal facilities.