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Search, Reuse, and Destroy: How States Can Take the Lead on a 100 Billion Ton Climate Problem

Preventing emissions of fluorinated refrigerants such as HFCs from “F-gas banks” is the single biggest near-term strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. The IPCC special report on limiting global warming to within 1.5˚C also underlined need for faster and deeper HFC emission reductions beyond those anticipated under full implementation of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Search, Reuse, and Destroy: How States Can Take the Lead on a 100 Billion Ton Climate Problem outlines policy approaches for U.S. states to take leadership on this major climate opportunity.

End-of-life emissions of refrigerants from retired equipment avoidable in the U.S. are estimated to be 75-80 million metric tons of CO2e annually, equivalent to emissions from 16 million cars. Recovery and destruction of refrigerant banks at end of life is a cost-effective mitigation strategy, costing less per ton than conservative measures for the U.S. social cost of carbon. Leaks are another major source of refrigerant emissions with an average supermarket refrigeration system leaking 25% of its total refrigerant charge annually, equivalent to 1,780 metric tons of CO2e, or emissions of nearly 400 passenger cars annually. As federal EPA regulations on refrigerant management are rolled back, U.S. States must act quickly and decisively to address refrigerant emissions through policies aimed at scaling up refrigerant management, recovery, reclamation, and destruction — a near-term, cost-effective approach that would have immediate and significant climate benefits.

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Recent Blog Posts

Can I be HFC-free? A Quest for Climate-friendly Cooling
08/10/2020
Supermarkets in particular have enormous refrigeration systems that extend past the display cases to back room chillers, refrigerated trucks, cold warehouses and so on. With such large systems, supermarkets are among the largest corporate offenders of HFC use, with thousands of tons of these chemicals throughout their cold chain. Yet out of nearly 40,000 supermarkets in the U.S., barely 1% are known to have transitioned to HFC-free systems; our Supermarket Scorecard shows that action and change throughout the industry is needed. These large companies have a greater climate footprint than you or me, and thus a greater responsibility to transition to climate-friendly alternatives.
Finding the Promise in Compromise: EIA Proposal to Jumpstart California HFC Reclaim
07/27/2020
Last week EIA participated in California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) 6th workshop on proposed regulations to reduce emissions of super pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) used in cooling. The state’s rigorous process for proposing new regulations on HFC refrigerants has been ongoing for several years now and is in the final stretch. Opportunities for stakeholder engagement have been abundant and ARB has invited input from industry along the way. They even aligned with an industry proposed 2023 deadline for transitioning new air conditioning equipment to refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) less than 750.

Recent Reports

The Risk of Ozone-Depletion Persists - Comments to EPA
10/15/2020
EIA submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding the draft risk assessments of methylene chloride, carbon tetrachloride, and other priority chemicals undergoing risk evaluations under the Amended Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
EIA Briefing on the IEC Standards Proposal for Air Conditioning
10/08/2020
With global stock of household air conditioners (ACs) expected to triple by 2050, continued use of HFCs in ACs is fueling the climate crisis.

Recent Press Releases

100,000+ Consumers Say Walmart Should Not Put Off Curbing Climate-Harming Refrigerants for 20 Years
09/21/2020
New Announcement Waiting Until 2040 to Phase Out HFCs Leaves Walmart Way Behind Competitors – Including Aldi, Target, and Whole Foods – Who Already Have Taken Action
Unlocking Kigali Amendment Climate Benefits
08/17/2020
A new safety standard proposed by an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) working group is vital to maximizing emission reductions from a global phase-down of super pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
What are the HFC-free Technologies?
Widespread adoption of HFC-free technologies is cost-effective, energy efficient, and climate-friendly. Read EIA’s report Putting the Freeze on HFCs for hundreds of examples of HFC-free technologies available and in use today.
A Global HFC Phase-down
The October 2016 Montreal Protocol meeting in Kigali, Rwanda yielded a global agreement to phase down HFCs. Now countries must ratify and implement the Kigali Amendment! Read and share EIA's briefing on this great opportunity and obligation to avert climate catastrophe.
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Where are HFCs used?
What are HFCs?
How to Recycle Your Fridge