HFCs are subject to a broad range of regulations that are projected to grow increasingly stringent over the next decade. Most HFC applications, such as refrigeration and air conditioning equipment that rely on HFCs as refrigerants, must transition to next generation refrigerant technologies in the 2025-2030 time.
HFCs are being targeted by regulatory efforts at international, national, and sub-national levels because many HFCs have high Global Warming Potentials (GWPs) – that is, most are hundreds to several thousand times more potent in warming the planet than CO2. For example, the GWP of one of the most common HFC refrigerants, HFC-134a, is 1,430 – meaning it is 1,430 times as potent as CO2.
HFCs also have relatively short atmospheric lifetimes, typically between 5 to 20 years, meaning their impact on the climate is greater in the near term than CO2, which persists in the atmospheric for up to 1,000 years. This also means that near-term abatement of HFC emissions has greater benefit for the climate, making HFCs highly attractive to policymakers eager to forestall rising temperatures.