One of the most recent efforts focused directly on the Global Warming Potential (GWP) by claiming that the global warming contribution of HFCs is not nearly as significant as is being claimed by those advocating a phaseout of HFCs.
“HFCs may contribute only two to four percent of total carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gas emissions, even under a worst-case” scenario, according to Mack McFarland, who is a principal scientist for Environmental Programs for DuPont Fluoroproducts. His comments were made at a Media Roundtable hosted by the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI).
He cited an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that had issued a Special Report on Emission Scenario (SRES). Even with “no specific regulatory intervention on HFCs to address climate change, the results show that the fractional contribution to HFCs to total greenhouse gas emissions limited to achieve no more than a doubling of preindustrial concentrations would be in the range of 2.2 to 4.1 percent in the year 2050 on a carbon dioxide-equivalent basis.
“This result represents a correction to an earlier environmental report by an environmental organization, in which the fractional contributions were reported to be 267 percent larger.”
He further advocated that with various “responsible-use principles” for HFCs already in place as the result of an accord among such organizations as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations Environment Program, and the Alliance for Atmospheric Policy, HFC emissions “would be less than those reported in the IPCC SRES series.”
“HFCs are used in important applications in both developed and developing countries,” McFarland stated, “including metered-dose inhalers, foam insulation, refrigeration, air conditioning, technical aerosol products, solvents, and fire extinguishants.”
Further, he noted that “HFCs are necessary for an orderly phaseout of ozone-depleting substances under the Montreal Protocol. They [HFCs] are low in toxicity, cost effective, safe to use, and in many applications provide high energy efficiency.”
McFarland noted that “HFCs are included in a basket of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto Protocol.” The significance of that statement is that the industry wants any consideration of HFCs to be lumped in with six other gases (such as methane) in that “basket.”
However, some elements in Europe, including a number of governmental bodies and environmental groups, have pulled HFCs out of that basket and targeted them specifically.
Among those principles:
Publication date: 08/04/2003