WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday took its first significant step under President Biden to curb climate change, moving to sharply reduce a class of chemicals that is thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide at warming the planet.
In proposing a new regulation, Michael S. Regan, the E.P.A. administrator, said the agency aimed to reduce the production and importation of hydrofluorocarbons, which are used in refrigeration and air-conditioning, in the United States by 85 percent over the next 15 years. It’s a goal shared by environmental groups and the business community, which jointly championed bipartisan legislation passed by Congress in December to tackle the pollutant.
“This action is good for our planet and our economy,” Mr. Regan said in a statement. He framed the move as good for U.S. businesses, saying it would “help promote American leadership in innovation and manufacturing of new climate-safe products.”
The move is important because it will be the first time the federal government has set national limits on HFCs, which were used to replace ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons in the 1980s but have turned out to be a significant driver of global warming. More than a dozen states have either banned HFCs or are formulating some restrictions.