Republican and Democratic lawmakers have been negotiating a proposal within a senate energy bill that would result in an 85% cut to hydrofluorocarbon greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are commonly used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, building insulation, fire extinguishing systems, and aerosols. The American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA) is a bipartisan energy innovation bill targeting investment in clean energy technologies. The bill’s proposed HFC amendment is a legislative response a 2017 federal court ruling striking down 2015 EPA regulations on HFCs.
Despite general bipartisan support, the bill encountered hurdles related to HFC reduction and failed to move forward in March. The addition of HFC provisions to the AEIA resulted in contentious negotiations that stalled the bill, but a bipartisan agreement was reached on September 10. The HFCs amendment to the AEIA authorizes a 15-year, 85% phasedown of HFCs and addresses a myriad of concerns voiced during negotiation, such as exemptions for HFC “essential uses” and the creation of 150,000 jobs through alternative manufacturing.
The 2016 Kigali Amendment: Limiting HFCs under the Montreal Protocol
The HFC-related section of the AEIA tracks closely with the Kigali Amendment, a part of the Montreal Protocol that was championed by the U.S. and adopted by 197 countries in 2016. While the 1987 Montreal Protocol formalized a global effort to protect the ozone layer, the subsequent Kigali Amendment sought to specifically target HFCs through a gradual phase down. The amendment established an international phase down plan beginning in 2019, with a goal of freezing consumption by 2024. A 30-year goal to reduce 80% of HFC production and consumption would eliminate an estimated 80 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, preventing a 0.5-degree Celsius increase in global temperature by the end of the century. The Kigali Amendment, a binding international treaty, has languished in the U.S. because it has not been submitted for a Senate vote by the current administration. The AEIA, as a bipartisan energy bill with provisions mirroring the Kigali Amendment’s goals, may be a successful workaround for reducing HFC emissions.
 Juliet Eilperin & Steven Mufson, In rare bipartisan climate agreement, senators forge plan to slash use of potent greenhouse gas, Washington Post, (Sept. 10, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/2020/09/10/rare-bipartisan-climate-agreement-senators-forge-plan-slash-use-potent-greenhouse-gas/.
 United States Environmental Protection Agency, Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP), (Apr. 8, 2020), https://www.epa.gov/snap/reducing-hydrofluorocarbon-hfc-use-and-emissions-federal-sector-through-snap#:~:text=Hydrofluorocarbons%20(HFCs)%20are%20greenhouse%20gases,fire%20extinguishing%20systems%2C%20and%20aerosols.
 Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources, American Energy Innovation Act, (n.d.), https://www.energy.senate.gov/american-energy-innovation-act-aeia; American Energy Innovation Act, H.R. 241, 114th Cong. § 2089 (2015), available at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/2089/text.
 Cheryl Hogue & Marc Reisch, Court strikes down U.S. restrictions on HFCs, Chemical & Engineering News, (Aug. 8, 2017), https://cen.acs.org/articles/95/web/2017/08/Court-strikes-down-US-restrictions-on-HFCs.html.
 Jeff St. John, Massive Senate Energy Bill Falters, Green Tech Media, (Mar. 11, 2020), https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/massive-senate-energy-bill-falters.
 Press Release, U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, Carper, Barrasso, and Kennedy Announce Agreement on HFCs Amendment to Energy Bill, (Sept. 10, 2020), https://www.epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2020/9/carper-barrasso-and-kennedy-announce-agreement-on-hfcs-amendment-to-energy-bill.
 Id. at 6
 Id. at 6
 U.S. Department of State, The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer, (n.d.), https://www.state.gov/key-topics-office-of-environmental-quality-and-transboundary-issues/the-montreal-protocol-on-substances-that-deplete-the-ozone-layer/.
 United States Environmental Protection Agency, Recent International Developments under the Montreal Protocol, (Sept. 26, 2018), https://www.epa.gov/ozone-layer-protection/recent-international-developments-under-montreal-protocol#:~:text=On%20October%2015%2C%202016%2C%20with,over%20the%20next%2030%20years.
 Id. at 10.
 Id. at 10.
 Id. at 10.
 Id. at 1.