But the administration framed the new policy in economic terms. The E.P.A. estimated that the HFC rule would result in $283.9 billion in health and environmental benefits by the middle of the century by reducing climate-fueled wildfires, heat-related health problems and property damage from extreme weather events.
“This action is good for our planet and our economy,” Michael S. Regan, the administrator of the E.P.A. said in a statement, adding that it would help American businesses that are producing “climate-safe” alternatives to HFCs to succeed at home and abroad.
Several chemical companies and refrigerant producers agreed.
Since 2016 when nearly 200 nations signed an accord in Kigali, Rwanda to phase out HFCs in favor of alternatives that are less dangerous to the climate, a number of major producers ramped up their efforts to produce coolants such as hydrofluoroolefins.
The Chemours Company, for instance, has spent about $1 billion to create an alternative coolant that “can achieve many of the same results from a cooling perspective as you can get from the HFCs without the environmental impact,” said Thomas Sueta, a spokesman for the multinational chemical giant.
Critics say that the new regulations will harm consumers. Ben Lieberman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank, warned that restaurants, supermarkets and others that use commercial refrigeration would face higher costs when they bought new equipment or repaired old systems.
Kevin Fay, executive director of the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy, an industry coalition organized in 1980 to address the issue of ozone depletion, said because companies have already been transitioning, the policy will not mean higher prices for autos, appliances and other products.
The E.P.A.’s action is backed by both environmental groups and the business community, which jointly championed bipartisan legislation passed by Congress in December to tackle HFCs.