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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A climate policy pursued under former President Obama is poised to create thousands of jobs and lower America’s trade deficit, according to a report backed by a trade group representing some 300 companies in the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration industries.

Why it matters: Usually it’s the other way around, with industry slamming an Obama-era regulation. This issue — phasing down refrigerants that emit powerful greenhouse gas emissions — flips conventional wisdom on its head. The reason why is simple, and it has nothing to do with climate change: Companies like Honeywell, Trane and Carrier have invested millions of dollars adapting to what they have long expected the policy to be, and they want to make sure their investments aren’t wasted.

Gritty details: The report by two industry groups — the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute and the Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy — was sent Wednesday to the Trump administration.

  • It finds that the United States would reap broad economic gains if the federal government ratifies what’s known as the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
  • The Montreal Protocol is an environmental treaty agreed to 30 years ago to help mend the hole in the Earth’s ozone layer (it’s working.)
  • This new amendment is named after the Rwandan city where world leaders agreed in October 2016 to phase down refrigerants found in appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators that contain greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs.
  • For the amendment to go into effect, the administration would need to send it over to the Senate, which then would need to vote to ratify it.
  • The report finds economic gains happen regardless but are greater if the Kigali amendment is ratified, including an additional 33,000 jobs on top of an estimated 138,000 by 2027 and more exports and fewer imports.

For the record: The White House and EPA, both which were sent the report, declined to comment.

What’s next: EPA said recently it’s going to rewrite an Obama-era regulation that was supposed to be how America complies with the amendment. A federal court last year struck down the rule and ordered EPA to rewrite it.

Go deeper

Biden says Russia likely to invade Ukraine

President Biden addressed the brewing conflict between Russia and Ukraine during a press briefing Wednesday, saying of Russian President Vladimir Putin, "my guess is he will move in."

Why it matters: U.S. officials have issued a series of warnings about Russia's threatening military buildup on the border with Ukraine, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying in Kyiv earlier Wednesday that Russia could invade "on very short notice."

Biden challenges GOP agenda: "What are Republicans for?"

President Biden pushed back against Republican efforts to obstruct his agenda during a press conference Wednesday, asking "What are Republicans for?"

Why it matters: Biden's speech comes as he approaches one year in office, facing low polling numbers and a stalled agenda.

Nathan Bomey, author of Closer
2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Biden’s face mask campaign requires more imports from China

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

American mask manufacturers are getting whiplash, having gone from sleepy sector to mission-critical industry overnight — only to see sales collapse before now being suddenly in demand again.

Why it matters: As the highly contagious Omicron variant of COVID-19 rages, health experts now say Americans need legitimate N95 or KN95 masks to best protect themselves — not widely available fakes or less effective cloth masks.