White paper issued by EOS Climate analyzes impact of HFC refrigerants

June 2, 2015
If 30% of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants are reclaimed for re-use by 2040, about 18 billion metric tons carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent would be prevented from reaching the atmosphere over the next 25 years.

If 30% of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants are reclaimed for re-use by 2040, about 18 billion metric tons carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent would be prevented from reaching the atmosphere over the next 25 years. This is according to a white paper released by EOS Climate.
“Even with a global agreement to phase down production of HFCs and regulations that promote low-global warming potential (GWP) technology in new equipment, refrigerants already produced will continue to leak powerful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over the next several decades,” said Jeff Cohen, co-founder of EOS Climate and white paper co-author.
“With relatively small changes in practices and little if any additional cost, HFC refrigerants can be recovered, reclaimed, and re-used, potentially avoiding emissions equivalent to billions of tons of CO2 between now and 2040—a critical window to address climate change,” he said.
HFCs were developed as “ozone-friendly” substitutes for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) when those ozone-depleting chemicals were being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. Although they are safe for the stratospheric ozone layer, HFCs—like CFCs and HCFCs—are powerful greenhouse gases when released to the atmosphere.
Pound for pound, HFCs have global warming potentials (GWPs) hundreds to thousands times higher than CO2 and are among the fastest-growing greenhouse gases in the world. The United States, with support from a number of nations, has proposed a gradual phasedown of HFC production, but any production phasedown would not address HFC refrigerants in use.
“If left unchecked, HFC refrigerants will continue on the path as the world’s fastest-growing greenhouse gas,” said Joe Madden, co-founder of EOS Climate and white paper co-author. “The simplest and most cost-effective way to address this problem is through recycling. However, until HFC refrigerants are tracked from production to re-use in the supply chain, and metrics are established that incentivize their re-use, the likelihood of voluntary recycling will remain low. Now is the time to act.”
For a copy of Recycling HFC Refrigerants Delivers Immediate, Cost-Effective Climate Protection and to learn more about HFC recycling, access www.eosclimate.com/climate-solutions/.

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