Memo to Florida Voters: Your AC Bill Just Went Up

I have just been talking to a refrigeration expert who for his own reasons supports the ban on HFCs as refrigerants.  I put it to him that all the possible replacement gases have problems with toxicity, flammability etc.  We agreed that flammability is going to be the most likely problem to arise but he said that the probability of the gases igniting is very low.  He made the point that we often do things that have a much higher likelihood of harming us  -- driving a car, for instance.

While that is an intelligible argument, it ignores the reality that what we are moving away from is a zero-risk situation.  Say that there will in future be only three occasions worldwide where an AC unit explodes and kills someone.  ALL THREE of those occasions were fully avoidable by retaining HFCs. We may ordinarily take risks but how often do we deliberately heighten our risks?  Sensation-seekers aside, I think we do not.  So the latest Greenie mandate will kill some people -- entirely as a result of that mandate

We’ve warned for some time that Big Government is coming for your air conditioner in the name of saving the planet. Well, on Saturday, nearly 200 countries, including China, agreed to take action in the next eight years on reducing the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are used in AC units and refrigerators. The legally binding deal was spearheaded by John Kerry, who thinks HFCs pose as great a threat to national security as jihadis do. But EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy was equally involved. “In a nutshell, these HFCs cool our homes and chill our food, but they are turning up the temperature of our planet,” lectured McCarthy. “World leaders took a giant leap forward by agreeing to a global phase-down of these harmful gases.”

What do we get in exchange for this regulatory bonanza? The Washington Examiner reports, “Secretary of State John Kerry said the deal … would put the planet on track to stop the Earth’s temperature from rising a half of a degree Celsius over the next two decades.” That goal is unprovable. No matter how much the temperature changes, these folks will say it would be half a degree Celsius worse had it not been for their intrepid work.

Furthermore, air conditioners were more efficient with the already-banned CFCs than they are with HFCs, and these regulations threaten to make that even worse. Stephen Yurek, the head of the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, says, “After two phases of research, the most promising alternatives are currently classified as mildly flammable or flammable.” That sounds fun. So when our AC doesn’t work as well without HFCs, we’ll all be hotter, which has the advantage of “proving” the alarmists right about global warming.

McCarthy also crowed, “While we have seen many significant successes under President Obama’s leadership in fighting climate change, this day will unquestionably be remembered as one of the most important in our effort to save the one planet we have.” And you can bet that “important effort” — just like every other Obama regulation to that end — is going to cost you dearly


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