The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to restrict the use of certain chemicals in air conditioners, vending machines and retail food refrigeration in a bid to tackle climate change.
It is considering banning certain hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are compounds used in many industrial and consumer products and replace them with “safer, more climate-friendly alternatives”.
HFCs are considered to be much more powerful than carbon dioxide in terms of the impact on global warming.
The proposal is estimated to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 42 million metric tons by 2020 – equivalent to the carbon emissions from the annual electricity use of more than five million homes.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said: “This action will not only result in significant reductions of harmful greenhouse gases but it will also encourage businesses to continue bringing safer alternatives to market.”