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Why This Matters: HFCs are a very potent greenhouse gas – as we have written recently, they have a global warming potential of 1000 to 3000 times that of carbon dioxide, and their use has increased exponentially since they were introduced in 1990. The first court ruling, written by then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh, held that the Obama administration rule should not have required the phase-out of ozone-friendly HFCs. Trump then said the whole rule had to go. States and environmental groups sued, arguing that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) should be allowed to ban new HFCs as replacements for ozone-depleting substances because that was within their authority under the Air Act. The Trump administration claimed they could not implement the rule piecemeal, but fortunately, the court reigned them in.
Because the Trump administration refused to implement the Obama rule on HFCs requiring their phase-out, states have begun to pass tougher laws to ban them. Just last month, an energy research funding bill with bipartisan support was zipping through the Senate, but it ran into a roadblock when President Trump and conservative Republicans blocked an amendment that would have phased out HFCs because the Democrats refused to agree to language in the amendment banning states’ right to pass stricter standards on them. The state of California is working to put new standards in place that would meet a requirement that the state reduces its HFC emissions to half their current levels by 2030. This would require changes by grocery stores, as well as alterations to commercial and residential air conditioning systems.
After a four-year hiatus under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Indicators website is back in action. The public portal includes data on 54 indicators including sea-level rise, Great Lakes ice cover, heat waves, river flooding, and residential energy use.
Why This Matters: People are experiencing the impacts of climate change in their everyday lives, from hotter temperatures to more intense wildfire seasons.
When reading about climate change, you’ll often come across the unit of measurement called a “metric ton of CO2.” That sounds like a lot, but the unit is a bit abstract for most of us when our reference point for a ton is a VW Beetle, the Liberty Bell, or even a baby humpback whale […]
According to a new report from Christian Aid, Kenya, which produces half of all black tea consumed by the UK, may lose a quarter of its growing capacity by 2050, and the tea that makes it into drinkers’ cups may taste a lot different than before. The decline of tea farming has implications for economies worldwide, including Kenya, India, China, and Sri Lanka.
Why This Matters: Tea is the most popular drink other than water globally and the tea industry employs more than 3 million people in Africa alone.
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