Nov 26, 2018

Industry report: Consumer costs limited in Obama-era climate policy

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A coalition of manufacturers and chemical makers argue in a new report that the impact on consumers would be limited if the Trump administration and Congress approve a global deal on climate change first agreed to by the Obama administration.

The big picture: Named after the Rwandan city where it was signed in October 2016, the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an environmental treaty, phases down the use of potent greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs are emitted from refrigerants in appliances like air conditioners.

The details: Businesses affected by the policy support it largely because they stand to benefit financially with new products coming online to comply with it. Despite that support, the amendment is facing a skeptical audience in the Trump administration due to concerns about consumer costs when maintaining and purchasing new air conditioners.

  • In response, two industry groups are set to release a report, obtained by Axios, that shows consumers save a little bit — about $6.50 a year — with adoption of the policy. With the policy, consumers would pay on average $1,191.29 a year for their air conditioner, compared to $1,197.74 without it.
  • That’s driven by modeling assumptions that shows the average equipment sold under the new policy would be 1.3% more energy efficient on average compared to the status quo.
  • The report warns of "market chaos" that could lead to high prices and obsolete equipment if rules are implemented without coordinating the phasing down of refrigerants, as laid out in the Kigali policy.

Yes, but: The report assumes consumers transition from their current AC to a new AC with the climate-friendly refrigerants only when they really need to. And beware, some technicians can seize on these changing government rules to encourage people to buy new equipment before it’s necessary.

What's next: For the policy to go into effect in the U.S., the State Department needs to send it over for review and eventual vote in the Senate. That hasn’t occurred, and there’s no sign it will anytime soon, according to people familiar with the process. One industry official said it may not happen at all under Trump, leaving it for the next president. A State Department spokesperson had no comment.

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Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said Saturday he's considering a short-term quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut, which have already taken steps to help residents isolate. Gov. Andrew Cuomo reacted to Trump's comments by telling CNN, "This would be a federal declaration of war on states" and that it would cause "chaos."

The big picture: With more than 121,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 19 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 660,706 — Total deaths: 30,652 — Total recoveries: 139,304.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7:30 p.m. ET: 121,478 — Total deaths: 2,026 — Total recoveries: 1,072.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Coronavirus updates: Deaths surge in Italy and Spain

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

The novel coronavirus has since Friday killed 889 more people in Italy and 832 others in Spain, which announced all non-essential workplaces would close for two weeks.

The big picture: The number of deaths from COVID-19 surpassed 2,000 on Saturday in the U.S., which leads the world in confirmed coronavirus infections — more than 121,000, per John Hopkins. The number of those recovered from the virus in the United States passed the 1,000-mark on Saturday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 57 mins ago - Health