Hydrofluorocarbons: The move away from high GWP refrigerants

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Published: 23 August 2016


Air Conditioning Outdoor Units
Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are proving to be more controversial than just the global warming they cause when leaked from air conditioning systems. 

Here's a roundup of recent articles from the USA, UK and India discussing the controversial chemicals and what governments are doing about reducing HFCs.

A blog post about the popularity of air conditioning in the UK stems from the from the long, hot summer of 1976. Before that prolonged heat wave, air conditioning was seen as a luxury.

But, the author points out, cooling comes at a high price: greenhouse gases caused by burning fossil fuels to generate electricity, and the hydrofluorocarbons used as refrigerants.

Why air conditioning is a vicious circle - The Guardian

Why air conditioning is a vicious circle

Air conditioning systems also use powerful greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide. These gases leak out into the atmosphere ...

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But, the future could be quite different for how we generate electricity and power air conditioning systems and other domestic appliances. The fall in the cost of solar PV panels means that much more of our energy could come from cheap, renewable sources.


Hydrofluorocarbons got a mention by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, recently when he was misquoted in the media who, mistakenly implied that he had equated air conditioning and their refrigerants with high global warming potentials as being as dangerous as the terrorist group, the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS.

John Kerry Targets Your Air Conditioner - Newsmax

John Kerry Targets Your Air Conditioner - Kerry was referring to fighting diabolical influences of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) insidiously chilling in our very homes and offices. Speaking at a July conference in Vienna, he described them as ...

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It was countered by what he had actually said...

John Kerry Didn't Say 'Refrigerators and Air Conditioners Are as ... - snopes.com

John Kerry Didn't Say 'Refrigerators and Air Conditioners Are as dangerous as ISIS.

John Kerry's reference to the fight against climate change being of equal importance with the fight against terrorism was spun into a ridiculous remark about airᅠ ...

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Around the world, countries including India and China are facing up to the realities of having to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) but don't want to move as fast as the Europe and the USA.

U.S. Wants Everyone to Stop Using HFCs in Air Conditioners ... - Digital Trends

U.S. Wants Everyone to Stop Using HFCs in Air Conditioners

Just three years from now -- 2019 -- is when the U.S. wants the developed world to stop selling air conditioners that use HFCs.How bad is your air conditioner f ...

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The New York Times recently explained the impact of its readers' air conditioning systems on the environment. Is the general public finally facing up to how keeping cool affects everyone?

How Bad Is Your Air-Conditioner for the Planet? - New York Times

How Bad Is Your Air-Conditioner for the Planet?

Last month, representatives from nearly 200 countries worked on a new environment agreement to regulate the use of HFCs, or hydrofluorocarbons. These chemical compounds are re ...

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The Indian delegation at the recent Montreal Protocol meeting in Vienna was buying time to prepare for the move away from HFCs.

Montreal Protocol: India cites lack of verifiable data on Hydrofluorocarbons - The Indian Express

India cites lack of verifiable data on Hydrofluorocarbons

The Indian ExpressMontreal Protocol: India cites lack of verifiable data on Hydrofluorocarbons. The 38th meeting of the Open Ended Working Group of Parties ...

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In the UK, nothing much will change. The country is already committed to reducing the use of high GWP refrigerants through the F Gas legislation. Other countries are not yet as committed or ready to face up to a world with less use of HFCs.