EOS Climate: The Refrigerant Revolution

The growing impact of refrigerants on climate change continues to receive unprecedented media attention in The New York Times, Bloomberg and other news outlets. According to scientists at NOAA and U.S. EPA, if current trends continue, by 2050 up to a quarter of all global greenhouse gas emissions may be tagged to refrigerants use in cooling technologies. Booming demand for air conditioning and refrigeration around the world, especially in developing countries, is increasing consumption of fluorochemical refrigerants, chemicals that contribute to global warming.

Meanwhile, chilling out at home, hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — pervasive in everything from kitchen refrigerators, supermarket cases, and air conditioning systems in automobiles, homes, and buildings have become the fastest growing climate pollutant in the U.S. Their rate of growth now exceeds that of CO2 emissions. This past summer, the U.S. and other G8 countries committed committed to comprehensive action to reduce growth of HFCs and other short-lived climate pollutants, including methane and black carbon soot.

This fall, EOS Climate and Triple Pundit tackle a series of posts on refrigerants and climate, exploring complexities in depth. Following-up on our piece in 2010, this series will cover the history and current policy backdrop around refrigerants, plus a range of perspectives on the growing challenge from select leaders in government, industry, NGOs and scientific community.

Safe and effective management of refrigerants has become an environmental priority around the world.

Refrigerants are under increasing regulatory scrutiny in the U.S. and globally due to powerful impacts on global warming, putting pressure on business to track and minimize emissions during equipment operations and at end-of-life, and to move to new and more sustainable solutions.

image courtesy www.sxc.hu

Refreshing Look: Supermarkets Keeping it Climate Cool

This week’s post takes a behind-the-scenes look at exemplary refrigerant management among supermarkets, examining drivers for innovation and highlighting best practices and change.…
Cool Campus

Commercial Scale Refrigerant Management Delivers Rochester a Cool Campus

With President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreeing, during their first-ever summit, to work together to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the…
Old coolers await uncertainty

Refrigerator Recycling: A Tale of Two Fridges

More than 90% of fridges and freezers discarded each year in the U.S. are not properly recycled. This results in dangerous GHG emissions…
evolution of cool

Refrigerant Revolution: A Cool Future Ahead for AC and a Warming Planet

As this series has noted, international protocols have only slowly phased out refrigerant gases that are harmful to the ozone layer and climate…
refrigerant

R-22 Phaseout, Refrigerator Recycling and Q&A from NYTimes’ “Chilling Effect”

U.S. EPA has tried to reduce use of R-22 by imposing strict quotas on its production. Since 2010, the agency has also banned…
roof-chiller

Refrigerant Revolution: The Policy Backdrop

In this week’s installment, we cover how governments and businesses around the world have approached the problem through regulatory and other policy measures,…
Global Warming CFCs

Introducing the Refrigerant Revolution

This is the 1st in a multi-part article series on refrigerants, their effects as greenhouse gases, and the market-based solutions aimed at their…