Seeking to bolster New Jersey’s environmental efforts in the face of a growing climate change crisis, the full Assembly voted 61-14-2 on Monday approving a measure (A-5583) that would limit the emission of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are powerful, manufactured greenhouse gases.
Sponsored by Assembly Democrats Nancy Pinkin, Yvonne Lopez and Raj Mukherji, the bill specifically seeks to prohibit the sale, lease, rental or installation of certain cooling and refrigeration equipment, and products containing HFCs.
“We’re facing a looming public health crisis, with air and water quality gradually in decline as we continue to release harmful gases into the atmosphere,” said Pinkin (D-Middlesex). “By limiting the use of products with HFCs, we have an opportunity to get ahead of the curve.”
HFCs comprise roughly one percent of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere today. However, emissions of these gases are growing between 10 to 15 percent worldwide every year, so without curbed consumption their prevalence is projected to increase rapidly over the coming years.
“The cost to our environment will be exponential if we continue to release HFCs into the atmosphere,” said Lopez (D-Middlesex). “With this legislation, we can forge a new path forward and shift consumption behaviors. We don’t just owe it to future generations anymore; we owe it to ourselves, our families and our communities today.”
Despite many HCFs being short-lived climate pollutants, remaining in the atmosphere for about 15 to 29 years, their impact on global warming is often thousands of times greater than that of carbon dioxide making them very potent gases.
“Transitioning New Jersey away from hydrofluorocarbons is imperative in reducing the risk to human health and the environment,” said Mukherji (D-Hudson). “Leading agencies and companies have already identified readily available, cost-effective alternatives that are safer. Now it’s just about putting the mechanisms in place to help industry and consumers make the switch.”
The bill now heads to the Senate for further consideration.