Supreme Court Whiffs on Climate Change Fight

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today let stand a lower court ruling that allows the continued use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a powerful class of climate-damaging chemicals, in millions of consumer products ranging from air conditioners to aerosol sprays. 

The following is a statement by David Doniger, an attorney and Senior Strategic Director of the Climate and Clean Energy Program at the Natural Resources Defense Council:

Coming only a day after the world’s leading climate scientists called for urgent action to curb dangerous carbon pollution, the court’s decision lets irresponsible companies continue harming our planet — even though safer alternatives exist.

“Thankfully, states are stepping up. Four already have committed to curbing HFCs, and more are expected soon to follow the leadership of California, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut.

“NRDC will continue working with states and with responsible industry leaders to stay on track, and on schedule, in the transition to safe alternatives.”


Acting under a Clean Air Act program adopted to ensure the safety of the alternatives for ozone-destroying chemicals, the Environmental Protection Agency had set timetables for industry to switch from HFCs to safer alternatives.  But the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, in an 2-1 decision written by then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh in August 2017, held that EPA had no power to stop the use of HFCs.  

For more on the legal case:

For more on state action on HFCs:

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The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.​


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