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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.

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