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EPA Administrator Michael Regan. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency Monday morning floated draft regulations to sharply phase down planet-warming gases used in air conditioning and refrigeration over the next 15 years.

Why it matters: The plan is designed to cut production and importation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are highly potent greenhouse gases, by 85% by 2036.

  • EPA said that under the proposal, the phase-down would prevent the equivalent of 187 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2036 alone.
  • That's "roughly equal" to the annual emissions from one out of seven vehicles registered in the U.S., according to EPA.

Background: The rule stems from wide-ranging bipartisan legislation enacted in late 2020.

  • The HFC phase-down has support among both powerful industry groups and the environmental movement.
  • The rule will effectively meet U.S. obligations under a 2016 addition to the Montreal Protocol agreed to in Kigali, Rwanda, even though the U.S. has not formally ratified the amendment.
  • That 1987 treaty successfully curbed the use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, but one side effect was that it boosted deployment of HFCs.

By the numbers: EPA estimates that implementing the regulation will provide $283.9 billion in cumulative benefits from 2022 through 2050.

  • The agency said that a global phase-down is "expected to avoid up to 0.5 °C of global warming by 2100."
  • That's a lot if it indeed happens. Earth has already warmed more than 1°C above preindustrial levels, and the most ambitious goal of the Paris climate agreement is to hold warming to 1.5°C.

Go deeper: E.P.A. to Announce Sharp Limits on Powerful Greenhouse Gases (New York Times)

Go deeper

Scientific advances narrow range of scenarios for projected global warming

A local resident reacts watches a forest fire approach the village of Pefki on Evia island in Greece. Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP via Getty Images

New climate science insights have enabled researchers to narrow the projected range of warming that would occur for a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is known as the "equilibrium climate sensitivity" (ECS).

The intrigue: Some of the newer computer models used for the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report show higher-end climate sensitivity results, and therefore, much more warming.

Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Technology

Microsoft to buy Activision Blizzard

Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Microsoft announced Tuesday it plans to acquire video game giant Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in cash.

Why it matters: The move comes as Activision Blizzard has faced a wave of accusations of workplace harassment.

2 hours ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.