A few weeks ago in these pages, we noted that a new study in Geophysical Research Letters had found that the 1989 Montreal Protocol—the treaty designed to cut down the gasses that cause dangerous holes in the Earth’s protective ozone layer—had another major, salutary effect. It turned out that the protocols have also been surprisingly effective at curtailing global warming—even though climate change was not even a consideration during initial treaty negotiations in the ’80s.
Recently, the Trump Administration’s EPA has tried to un-do portions of the ban, which had been considerably bolstered by Obama-era amendments to include a slightly different, new class of refrigerants called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
As expected, environmental organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council are fighting this in the courts. The NRDC argued: “If the decision stands, [the chemicals meant to be phased out] will continue fueling dangerous climate change and increasing the harms suffered by millions of Americans experiencing extreme weather events and other climate impacts.”
In an unexpected twist, industry titans such as manufacturing giant Honeywell and chemical company Chemours—a spin-off of Dupont de Nemours—are joining the environmental groups in opposing this decision of Trump’s EPA, reports The Washington Examiner.
It turns out that the chemical companies have already invested more than $1 billion in existing manufacturing systems to make refrigerants that are more ozone-friendly. So, they don’t want to go back to the old way of doing things, and re-tool. This means that industry and environmental groups are teaming up to oppose decisions by Trump’s EPA.
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