The facts you need to know:

  • They will probably agree to change the Montreal Protocol fundamentally or they will agree to agree soon. The Montreal Protocol will become a global agreement to reduce global warming as well as reducing ozone depletion. It will establish the basis for the elimination of high global warming synthetic refrigerants.
  • The parties to the Montreal Protocol will establish an agreement that will ultimately pertain to every country in the world.
  • The impact of this development is that a large proportion of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment will be replaced or rebuilt before the end of its life in order to enable the use of Low Global Warming refrigerants. This is a huge global investment but in most cases, it is commercially warranted.
  • Any new investments in HVACR equipment will be based on Low Global Warming refrigerants. If you are investing in new HVACR equipment you’ll want to be sure it is future proof – doesn’t require the use of High Global Warming synthetic refrigerants.
  • The impact will be important improvements in HVACR energy efficiency and reduced direct emissions of high global warming refrigerants – everybody wins (excepting the manufacturers of synthetic refrigerants).
  • That means just about every building and every home will have the opportunity to convert their HVACR equipment to use low global warming refrigerants and save money through energy efficiency gains.

How is it being presented in the press and why has it finally gone public?

In the late eighties, we had a blast of ozone protection awareness. Everyone learned that synthetic refrigerants (CFCs and HCFCs) were destroying the ozone layer. We learned that this was threatening because in the absence of ozone we are exposed to ultra violet radiation that causes sunburn and sometimes leads to melanoma. Australia paid attention and led the process of eliminating the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants.

That job is far from done but we appear to be on the path to ozone recovery. So we banked the Montreal Protocol for ozone depletion avoidance and moved on.

Today we know we have a “new” and far greater threat involving the HVACR industry. Most of us understand climate change is a major, current problem and want to stop it.  But many do not appreciate the large contribution to global warming being caused by the HVACR industry.

The refrigerants that are replacing HCFCs are HFCs (non-ozone depleting but high global warming). They are leaked to atmosphere pervasively.  They are not energy efficient. The combination of low energy efficiency and high direct emissions of High Global Warming HFC refrigerants has to be stopped.

The value of the Montreal Protocol as a way to change refrigerants worldwide is back on our agenda.

The many governments, organisations and people that see the elimination of HFC refrigerants as important are making that point as strongly as they can.  They are saying:

  1. If we stop using HFC refrigerants we will be able to reduce climate change by about half a degree C.   That may not sound like a lot but in the climate change business it is really important.
  2. By replacing high GWP synthetic refrigerants with low global warming refrigerants we have the opportunity to increase the energy efficiency of HVACR systems.  This is a highly contentious matter, but the fundamental truth is that the new refrigerants require new equipment and the new equipment that can be a lot more energy efficient if we choose the right replacement refrigerants and we get the engineering right.
  3. It is critical that the Parties to the Montreal Protocol agree to dramatically reduce the use of High Global Warming synthetic refrigerants; in Kigali on October 8/12.

The press is not going far beyond these statements and the quantification they use is highly variable, but the bottom line is that all nations can and will adopt reasonably straightforward legislation to eliminate the use of High Global Warming refrigerants.

This will happen soon and the HVACR industry worldwide will be presented with the challenge of adopting low global warming refrigerant-based technology.

Many are not saying that the solution is natural refrigerant-based technology. Because of the commercial interests involved, there is ongoing confrontation between natural refrigerant-based technology and synthetic refrigerant based technology. Both will be promoted for direct emissions reduction reasons but the fact is that natural refrigerants are inherently more energy efficient.

Here’s a selection of the press calling for the phase down of HFCs.  It should be clear to everyone that access these reports that each of us needs to understand why and how the HVACR industry is changing fundamentally. It is a major educational task that both industry and Government needs to embrace NOW.

Click on the links below for more relevant articles on HFC Phase Down.

List of articles and sources:

The Economist
The Montreal protocol: To coldly go
Extending an old treaty that saved the ozone layer could improve cooling technology—and slow global warming. The world’s most lauded environmental treaty could be about to notch up a new success.

The Scientific American
Phaseout of Refrigerants Needed to Meet Paris Accord

Why Climate Negotiators Have Turned Their Attention to Your Air Conditioner
It may be the most important step to address climate change this year. Climate negotiators are laying the groundwork for an agreement to stem emissions of global warming-causing hydrofluorocarbons.

U.S. News & World Report
US, others call for rapid phase-out of heat-trapping HFCs

The Guardian
100 countries push to phase out potentially disastrous greenhouse gas
A loose coalition of more than 100 countries, including the US and European nations, is pushing for an early phase-out of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)


India Today
New energy efficiency fund will help developing nations
The creation of a new fund to improve energy efficiency in developing countries and phase out HFCs will enable them collaborate in achieving climate change goals effectively. A new fund of up to USD 80 million was announced to help developing countries improve energy efficiency and phase out the use of HFCs.

All Africa
Rwanda Calls on the World to Pass an Ambitious Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

Malaysian Digest
100 Countries Push To Phase Out Potentially Disastrous Greenhouse Gas

New Straits Times
World needs to reduce use of HFCs

Source: ARA – Australian Refrigeration Association. For more research and detail please see the original article here.

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