An energy bill that enjoys bipartisan support has stalled in the Senate on an dispute about the phaseout of coolants.
Matthew Daly reported the news for the AP:
It was supposed to be a bipartisan moment for the Senate.
But now a sweeping energy package touted as a “down payment” on fighting climate change is falling apart amid a push to limit coolants used in air conditioners and refrigerators.
The energy legislation would boost efficiency and authorize billions of dollars to develop a wide range of clean energy options to limit greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. The measure also would enhance grid security and support efforts to capture and remove carbon emissions from coal and natural gas plants.
The bill is widely supported in both parties but stalled this week amid a dispute over a proposed amendment to impose a 15-year phasedown of hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, that are used as coolants in refrigerators and air conditioners. HFCs are considered a major driver of global warming and are being phased out worldwide.
Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware pushed for the amendment, which they said would give U.S. companies needed certainty to produce “next-generation” coolants as an alternative to HFCs. Both men represent states that are home to companies that produce the alternative refrigerants.
Morgan Phillips from Fox News wrote:
The energy legislation, introduced by Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin, would boost efficiency and authorize billions of dollars to develop clean energy options to eliminate greenhouse gases. It would also enhance grid security and support efforts to capture and remove carbon emissions at their source, from coal and natural gas plants.
The bill, though widely supported by both parties, stalled over a proposed amendment to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, over 15 years. HFCs are the coolants used in refrigerators and air conditioners and are widely considered to be a major driver of global warming. They are being limited in countries across the globe.
Republican Sen. John Kennedy of Louisiana and Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware pushed for the amendment, saying it would spur U.S. companies to produce “next-generation” coolants as an alternative to HFCs. Both senators hail from states which are home to companies that produce alternative refrigerants.
The amendment was supported by at least three dozen senators, including 17 Republicans who signed on as co-sponsors. Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, however, opposed the amendment.
Yessenia Funes wrote for Gizmodo:
HFCs cover a number of greenhouse gases that have thousands of times more warming potential than carbon dioxide. And their concentrations in the atmosphere have been increasing, including some that were supposed to be phased out. That’s why the treaty to regulate them is so important to global efforts to cut climate change. And absent the U.S. signing on, it’s why the bill is valuable as well.
If the U.S. is going to take any kind of climate action, bills like these need to pass. And bills require bipartisan support if they’re going to pass the Senate, which this act has. Unfortunately, the White House ain’t down to regulate HFCs. When the Kigali Amendment, a worldwide treaty to regulate these chemicals, went into effect in January, the U.S. didn’t sign on. And now the White House may have enough allies in the Senate to either strip this amendment away or stop the bill entirely. This is the kind of behavior that prevents the U.S. from any progress. Sigh.