WASHINGTON — In a speech to delegates at the International Congress of Refrigeration, William G. Sutton, president of the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI), lauded researchers and engineers from around the world for their role in bringing refrigerated medicines, blood, safe food, and air conditioning to developing countries.

Sutton noted that "without refrigeration and refrigerated transport, countless doses of vaccines would spoil" and cited development of innovative shipping coolers and refrigerators that run on batteries. However, he noted that much remains to be done because the World Health Organization estimates that 30 million children do not have access to immunization and 2 million die each year.

"Our technology is credited with saving many, many lives each year," said Sutton. "Yet, in many highly populated countries, we have only just begun to expand air conditioning and refrigeration."

Noting the high death tolls in Europe and India due to heat waves this year and in the U.S. in the past, Sutton said "You will save lives by the hundreds and thousands in the future. Air conditioning and refrigeration provide more than comfort. They are lifesavers during weather extremes and facilitators for quality of life improvements.

"Increasingly, what we produce as an industry will be recognized for the value it brings. Life with our technologies is not just improved. It is much, much better, and your challenge is to bring that quality of life to billions more people around the globe, effectively and efficiently."

Sutton pointed out that there has been a 50 percent increase in the efficiency of residential central air conditioners and heat pumps compared to units shipped 25 years ago.

"And manufacturers are offering a wide range of HFC units to replace HCFC-22 units to beat the 2010 deadline for the phaseout of production of air conditioners using R-22," he said, quoting a paper presented at the congress by Barbara Minor and Donald Bivens that says, "HFC emissions are not likely to become a significant contributor to climate change in the foreseeable future, with relative contributions of HFC emissions being estimated in the range of 2 to 4 percent in 2050."

Noting progress made over the past 50 years, Sutton concluded by saying, "Air conditioning in many countries is no longer just a luxury for the rich. Refrigerators are found in virtually every home in developed countries. Technology advances made possible by your efforts and our industry have created a vastly better world in which to live and raise a family."

Publication date: 08/25/2003