This press release was forwarded to me:
WASHINGTON– A new study published today in the Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) shows that refrigerant chemicals, so
called F-gases, are a more dangerous global warming threat than previously
predicted. The study was authored by scientists from the
Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, United States government
agencies NOAA and EPA, along with a scientist from the chemical company
The paper projects that HFC (hydrofluorocarbon) emissions will rise
rapidly in coming years and decades, threatening to effectively cancel out
some of the hard fought greenhouse gas reductions made through energy
efficiency and clean energy deployment. Scientists have projected that we
need to cap greenhouse gas emissions now and rapidly reduce emissions by mid
century to stabilize the atmosphere and avoid dangerous climate change.
Uncontrolled HFC consumption and emissions growth would make it more
difficult to reach those goals.
The rest is quoted in full below and offered on an FYI basis. I have not seen the study discussed. I also find it a little frustrating that there are very few numbers in there, but oh well…
“We must aggressively phase out HFCs to effectively combat climate
change. This new science confirms Greenpeace’s longstanding warning of the
significant global warming threat posed by these super greenhouse gases,”
says Kert Davies, Greenpeace US Research Director. “The Obama administration
should use every means necessary to prevent the emissions of F-gases so
that efforts to clean up the energy sector aren’t undermined. There are simple,
market-ready solutions waiting to be deployed provided adequate incentives
To phase out HFCs, current bans and phase outs underway
in Europe and elsewhere must be expanded upon to include o all developed and
developing countries quickly. The new science also highlights the need for a redoubled cooperative effort
between the UN climate treaty (Kyoto Protocol, upcoming Copenhagen talks)
and the UN ozone layer treaty (Montreal Protocol).
HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) and similar gases are used in refrigerators
and air conditioning units in buildings and homes, cars, trucks, and trains.
The gases are also used as foam blowing agents. The new PNAS study
attributes the growth in HFC consumption to the rapid growth of Asian
markets for refrigeration, automobile air-conditioning, and commercial air
conditioning and refrigeration, along with the accelerated phase out of HCFC
(ozone-depleting refrigerants) under the Montreal Protocol and subsequent
replacement of those chemicals with HFCs.
In 1992, Greenpeace coordinated commercial development of a
climate-friendly refrigeration technology known as “Greenfreeze” and
open-sourced the intellectual property. In 1997, the United Nations awarded
Greenpeace its Ozone Protection Award for this work. There are now an
estimated 300 million Greenfreeze-type refrigerators in use worldwide
(except in the United States and Canada), sold by major corporations
including Bosch-Siemens, Haier, Whirlpool, Panasonic, LG, Samsung, Miele and
Electrolux. The deployment of this alternative technology has eliminated
the use of approximately 43,000 pounds of HFCs – equivalent to a reduction
of about 61 million tons of carbon dioxide or the annual pollution from
approximately 10 million cars. Greenpeace is working to make these
refrigerators available in the United States where they are currently not
certified by the EPA.
Last September, Ben & Jerry’s, working with Greenpeace, launched a pilot
program to test 2,000 of their Greenfreeze freezers in ice cream shops and
stores in the United States. Greenpeace also supports Refrigerants,
Naturally, a global initiative dedicated to phasing out the use of HFCs
working with UNEP, CocaCola, PepsiCo, Unilever and other companies.
You can find out more about Greenfreeze here.