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HFCs and the Montreal Protocol

In February, the EPA hosted a stakeholder meeting to discuss a proposal for HFC refrigerants in the Montreal Protocol.  The United States, along with our neighbors to the north and south, will likely propose an amendment to add HFCs to the Montreal Protocol.  The goal is to carefully and slowly phase down HFC production, but not a complete phase out.   The phase-down schedules are still being discussed, as is the issue of what to do with HFO refrigerants.  Large developing countries such as India, China and Brazil may oppose universal HFC phase-downs.

Most of what our industry does with refrigerants today stems from the Montreal Protocol.  The air conditioning and refrigeration industry has supported global efforts to protect the environment by introducing non-chlorine-containing refrigerants. The Montreal Protocol, established in 1987 and later revised, provides guidelines for individual country legislation, setting timetables for the phase-out of chlorine containing refrigerants.  But today there is more attention on climate change and reducing greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide is by far the most significant greenhouse gas, produced mainly by burning fossil fuels for electrical generation and transportation. Since refrigeration equipment consumes energy, energy-efficient designs are important to reducing carbon dioxide production.

The effort started with an emphasis on cutting chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants. Work in the late 1980s and early 1990s centered on eliminating CFCs which were used in foam blowing, cleaning and refrigeration applications and centrifugal chillers for air conditioning. By the end of 1995, developed countries stopped producing CFCs, and they are no longer used in new equipment today. These actions have significantly reduced atmospheric chlorine and are starting to repair the ozone layer.

In a recent issue of the NEWS (ACHR), I mentioned “The U.S., Canada and Mexico have proposed an amendment to the Montreal Protocol to address global warming with a phase down of HFCs. This effort has been in place for a few years now. While there are 107 other countries supporting it, there are other, more developing countries like India, China and Brazil who oppose. One barrier often mentioned is that the Montreal Protocol has historically had a very clear mission of addressing ozone depletion, but climate change is outside of its charter.”  Read the entire article at:

However this plays out in 2013, we’ll be watching international, federal, and state regulations on greenhouse gases and working within in the industry to make smart decisions for today and the future.

Rajan Rajendran, Ph.D
Vice President, Engineering Services and Sustainability
Emerson Climate Technologies

One Comment Post a comment
  1. refrigerationguy #

    AHRI just reported that the United States, Canada, and Mexico did again submit the proposed amendment to the Montreal Protocol that addresses a global phasedown of HFC production and consumption. HFOs were removed from the proposal. The amendment will be considered by a working group starting June 24 in Bangkok and again in October 2013.

    April 30, 2013

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