WASHINGTON (December 21, 2020)—Congress has passed the Coronavirus Relief and Omnibus Package that will provide economic support to Americans, and includes one of the most significant pieces of climate legislation that Congress has passed. The package includes provisions to phase-down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are super-pollutants used in refrigeration and air conditioning. HFCs can be thousands of times more potent per unit of mass than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming. The bill will allow the U.S. to implement the existing international platform – the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol – which can help the world avoid as much as .5°C global warming by the end of the century.

This legislation also includes significant investments in renewable energy, grid modernization, energy storage, weatherization for low-income households, energy efficiency for schools and federal buildings, clean energy tax extenders, carbon dioxide removal including direct air capture, and other provisions that will help the country move to a low-carbon economy.

Following is a statement from Andrew Steer, President & CEO, World Resources Institute:

“This legislation will benefit Americans by providing economic relief from the pandemic, while also ushering-in important progress toward a low-carbon economy. In curbing the use of dangerous HFCs, this is one of the most significant pieces of climate legislation that Congress has passed in its history. The bill includes significant investments to help modernize the U.S. energy system and expand carbon capture and storage, which are critical to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in line with what the science says is needed.

“Much more needs to be done, but this legislation should put wind in the sails of the incoming Biden-Harris administration, which has made clear that climate action will be one of its top priorities. While the bill was hard fought, it reflects the reality that Congress can move forward in a bipartisan way on climate-smart policies that are good for people and the economy.”