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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

Update on North American Safety Standards for Climate-Friendly Refrigerants
03/25/2020
This month a new standards proposal under ASHRAE-15, represents some progress for uptake of climate-friendly hydrocarbon refrigerants to replace super pollutant hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The proposal allows hydrocarbons to be used in corridors and lobbies of commercial buildings like hotels. It allows up to 114 grams of propane where previously none was allowed at all. This will enable vending machines and most other light commercial refrigeration equipment like small one door beverage coolers containing hydrocarbons to be used in these spaces.
California’s New Plan to Reduce HFCs in Supermarkets
02/03/2020
Part one in a series on policy trends on eliminating HFCs, emerging from California.

Recent Reports

EIA Comments on ASHRAE-15 Standards Proposal
03/25/2020
EIA comments on a proposed revision to a major U.S. safety standards, ASHRAE-15, calling for important revisions.
Search, Reuse and Destroy: Initiating Global Discussion to Act on a 100 Billion Ton Climate Problem
11/06/2019
Search, Reuse and Destroy: Initiating Global Discussion to Act on a 100 Billion Ton Climate Problem

Recent Press Releases

EIA Response to New Nature Paper on Urgent Need to Recover and Destroy CFC Banks
03/17/2020
Washington DC – A new paper published in Nature today warns that emissions from ‘banks’ of ozone-destroying CFCs, could potentially delay the Antarctic ozone hole recovery by about six years. The new paper, Quantifying contributions of chlorofluorocarbon banks to emissions and impacts on the ozone layer and climate, also estimates that future emissions from current CFC banks could lead to an additional 9 billion metric tonnes CO2e between 2020 and 2100.
EPA Rescinds Requirements on Super-Pollutant HFCs, Reversing Basic Safeguards on Leaks
02/27/2020
EPA Rescinds Requirements on Super-Pollutant HFCs, Reversing Basic Safeguards on Leaks

Recent Videos

Blowing It
07/08/2018
Information obtained by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) demonstrates conclusively that the use of CFC-11 in China’s rigid polyurethane (PU) foam insulation sector, in particular in the building and construction subsector, is widespread and pervasive. CFC-11 is used as a foam blowing agent for the manufacture of molded foam panels and spray foam used for insulation purposes
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