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On April 7, WRI Distinguished Senior Fellow Andrew Light and Research Analyst Tyler Clevenger submitted a testimony for a virtual hearing before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on the bipartisan American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act that would direct the U.S. EPA to reduce emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

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NEW YORK (September 22, 2016) - Today in New York, a group of over 100 countries led by the United States, including Australia, Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, all 28 countries in the European Union, all 54 countries in Africa, and several island states, announced support for an ambitious amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) one of the fastest growing and most potent greenhouse gases, used primarily in cooling and refrigeration.

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Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent greenhouse gases commonly used as refrigerants, are a small but rapidly growing component of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Fortunately, climate-friendly substitutes exist, and some of these alternatives can even create net savings for consumers.

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When President Obama addresses the nation later today, climate change is expected to be featured. The president recently said that one of his personal passions is “leaving a planet that is as spectacular as the one we inherited from our parents and our grandparents.” The next two years will determine if his administration can meet this standard.

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Yesterday, the Obama Administration released the sixth U.S. Climate Action Report (CAR6) for public review, to be submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in January 2014. The report, which all developed countries are required to complete, outlines U.S. historical and future greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, actions the country is taking to address climate change, and its vulnerability to climate change impacts. This report follows the President’s recently announced Climate Action Plan, which, as the CAR6 report shows, could enable the United States to meet its international commitment of reducing emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020—if it acts ambitiously, that is.

However, as the report acknowledges, U.S. government agencies will need to propose new rules and take other steps to implement the Climate Action Plan. CAR6 factors in this uncertainty and shows that implementation of the Climate Action Plan will result in reductions in the range of 14 to 20 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 (not taking into account land use). As WRI found in our report, Can The U.S. Get There From Here?, the Obama Administration can achieve a 17 percent emissions-reduction target only by taking ambitious “go-getter” action.

Now is a good time to reflect on what the United States has done over the past four years and what still needs to happen across the major emissions sources in order meet the national emissions-reduction goal and curb the effects of climate change.

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