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Search, Reuse and Destroy: Initiating Global Discussion to Act on a 100 Billion Ton Climate Problem

This report outlines the immediate need to act upon a 100 billion ton climate opportunity. Current climate pledges and action are insufficient, by a wide margin, to address the worsening climate crisis and meet the global target of containing warming below 1.5 °C.

“Banks” of fluorinated greenhouse gases, which consist of ozone depleting substances (ODS) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) contained in existing equipment, chemical stockpiles, foams and other products, must be sustainably managed and properly disposed.

The report includes policy options and specific recommendations for actions by stakeholders at all levels including individuals, private sector, cities, states and provinces, nations, and most importantly, at a global level. A comprehensive international framework, accompanied by strong national regulations and sustainable financing mechanisms, will be essential to address this issue. Sub-national and private sector leadership also has a significant role to play in piloting and jumpstarting scalable solutions. Policy options discussed include extended responsibility schemes, incentive programs; recordkeeping, reporting and data collection; leak reduction programs, technician training requirements, and banning disposable refrigerant cylinders. The report also introduces the concept of establishing a standalone ‘Global Recovery Fund’ that would serve as a central mechanism for implementation of policies and programs addressing banks. The role of producer responsibility in contributions to such a fund should be considered alongside other sources.

Despite the success of Montreal Protocol in phasing out the production and consumption of refrigerants that damage the ozone layer, a significant amount of ODS and HFCs are still found in banks of refrigeration equipment and insulation foams. EIA investigations exposing massive illegal use of potent ODS, CFC-11 in China’s polyurethane (PU) foam insulation sector last year, also point to significant new banks of CFC-11 that need to be addressed.

EIA urges all decision makers to initiate discussions to address this urgent global obligation.

Read the report here.

View all Reports

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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