HFCs, a type of short-lived climate pollutant, linger in the atmosphere for an average of 14 years, which is significantly less time than CO2, but long enough to become mixed throughout the atmosphere. That means that reductions in HFCs in one area can affect the climate globally, including in the Arctic where climate change is wreaking havoc on natural systems.
An Obama-era rule would have restricted the manufacturing of products containing HFCs, and had the potential to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by as much as the equivalent of 72 million metric tons of carbon dioxide by 2025, according to an analysis by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
But a federal appeals court sided with foreign manufacturers of HFCs, ruling that the EPA did not have authority to regulate them under the Clean Air Act. This came despite support for the Obama regulations from the Trump administration and two large U.S.-based chemical manufacturers—DuPont spinoff Chemours and Honeywell International, which make alternatives to HFCs.