Background

The Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy (Alliance) was established in 1980 as a means for businesses that relied on chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to coordinate their participation in the development of U.S. and international policies addressing stratospheric ozone depletion. It represented businesses that produced CFCs, and manufacturers that used CFCs in air conditioning, refrigeration, appliances, foam insulation, other foam products, electronics, aerosols, and metered dose inhalers. Hundreds of products either contained or were manufactured using CFCs.

In the late 1980s, the Alliance was the first industry organization to call for an international environmental agreement to address ozone depletion since the science demonstrated that the world needed to cooperate on this global environmental threat. Through its participation in the 1987 Montreal Protocol negotiations, 1990 US Clean Air Act Amendments, and engagement with the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in implementing a CFC phaseout, the Alliance supported policies that balanced environmental, economic and human health priorities. Development and implementation of alternatives such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), allowed for an orderly transition away from CFCs and into new compounds.

By the early 1990s, the Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol were amended to establish a phaseout of HCFCs, and the EPA worked to implement a variety of regulations affecting Alliance members. The Alliance changed its name to The Alliance for Responsible Atmospheric Policy as an acknowledgement that its issues went beyond CFCs. As non-ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) grew in availability in the 1990s, new challenges were posed by their Global Warming Potential (GWP). Scientists indicated that HFCs may be a significant contributor to global climate change as the demand for refrigeration and air conditioning grew in developing countries. This recognition has led to industry’s current development, evaluation, and increasing implementation of another generation of alternative refrigerants, foam blowing agents, and propellants with low or no measured GWP.

Since companies which comprise the Alliance membership operate in the global market, the Alliance has concurrently monitored policy developments at the international, federal and state government levels which might affect its members. Its overarching goal has been to encourage responsible, reasonable, and cost-effective ozone protection and climate change policies to be determined at the international level and to oppose the development of a patchwork of different policies at the lower levels of government.

Adapting to growing global concerns regarding the climate change impact of HFCs, the Alliance became involved in early negotiations that led to the establishment of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The continuous engagement in Montreal Protocol and UNFCCC-related negotiations and policymaking related to HFCs has been important because HFCs are connected to both the transition away from ozone-depleting substances and the contribution to climate change.

Today, there are approximately 100 Alliance members including those in related industry associations whose members’ services rely on these chemicals. The Alliance also includes distributors, wholesalers, contractors, and refrigerant reclaimers. According to a recent study, the US fluorocarbon using and producing industries contribute more than $158 billion annually in goods and services to the US economy, and provide employment to more than 700,000 individuals with an industry-wide payroll of more than $32 billion.

The Alliance is now primarily concerned with developing an orderly transition away from the use of HCFCs and HFCs in a managed process which allows its members to move towards alternative substances while continuing to meet the public’s increasing demand for safe, efficient products such as refrigeration, heat pumps, fire safety systems and medical devices as living standards and societal needs increase across the world.

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