18 August 2020
A new safety standard proposed by an International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) working group is vital to maximising emission reductions from HFCs under the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, says the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
If approved by a vote of IEC member countries, the proposal is on course to be adopted in the international standard for air conditioning, IEC 60335-2-40, allowing greater use of climate-friendly and energy-efficient refrigerants in room air conditioning systems around the world.
Clare Perry, EIA UK Climate Campaign Leader, said: “The adoption of a revised safety standard to allow flammable refrigerants in room air conditioning is vital for meeting climate targets and implementing agreements to phase down HFCs, such as the Kigali Amendment under the Montreal Protocol.”
The proposed standard would allow greater use of flammable refrigerants such as propane with GWPs close to zero. Member countries represented on the IEC’s sub-committee 61D will have from now until October 30 to vote on the proposal.
“Climate-friendly hydrocarbon refrigerants have been safely used in billions of household refrigerators around the world for decades, but have been largely blocked in air conditioning by outdated standards,” said Christina Starr, Senior Climate Policy Analyst with EIA US.
“It is incredibly important for countries to support this proposal to unlock the full climate benefits of reducing HFCs and increasing energy efficiency in cooling.”
The number of room air-conditioners is predicted to triple to over 4.5 billion globally by 2050. A new report commissioned for EIA found that a shift away from HFCs in domestic split systems supported by updated product standards could avoid emissions of over two gigatonnes CO2-equivalent by 2030 and 5.6 gigatonnes CO2e by 2050.
“Many countries, particularly in the Global South that are A5 Parties to the Montreal Protocol, are in the process of phasing out ozone-depleting refrigerants, hydrochlorofluorocarbons. An updated standard that allows safe use of climate-friendly refrigerants will enable early action by these countries to ‘leapfrog’ super-pollutant HFCs and transition directly to better substitutes for air conditioning,” added Starr.