VIENNA — Stephen Yurek, president and CEO of Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI); Karim Amrane, senior vice president of regulatory and international policy, AHRI; and Jim Walters, vice president of international affairs, AHRI; and representatives from AHRI member companies attended several Montreal Protocol meetings July 15-24 in Vienna.

The HVACR industry is primarily concerned with producing an amendment to the protocol that defines a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown schedule, paving the way for the use of alternative refrigerants.

In an atmosphere of optimism and a strong U.S. presence and commitment, the parties defined solutions for a number of implementation challenges and set the stage for what is hoped will be the adoption of an amendment at the meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, in October. If an amendment is passed, it will mark the end of a six-year effort in which the HVACR industry has a vital stake.

Any phasedown schedule brings a host of sub-issues and challenges that affect developed and developing economies differently. These include ensuring that alternative refrigerants have both a low GWP (global warming potential) and are energy efficient; managing new refrigerants in high-temperature zones; assuring the availability of alternative refrigerants, especially in developing economies; and, foremost, assuring the safe use and handling of slightly flammable, toxic, and flammable refrigerants. The latter especially puts the focus on the proper training and education of personnel handling such refrigerants.

In addition to working with country delegates on the amendment, AHRI participated in several events to address some of these issues. On July 15, Amrane made a presentation on the research project collaboration among AHRI, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), ASHRAE, and the California Air Resources Board to assess risks associated with the use of alternative refrigerants, which subsequently led to approximately 12 parties expressing an interest in contributing to the effort. On July 20, Yurek provided the summary presentation for a side event, which was cosponsored by Refrigerants Australia and the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment. This event drew more than 50 attendees, including 11 governments and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and dealt with the important but sometimes overlooked fact that implementing the use of alternative refrigerants requires updates to international, national, and local codes and standards.

Taking the opportunity to advance industry positions, AHRI also had side meetings with delegates from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. For more information, contact Jim Walters at or Karim Amrane at

Publication date: 8/29/2016

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