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By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Wed, 02 Nov 2011 06:54:33 GMT

Source EPEE - A new study by French research bodies ARMINES / ERIE reveals that CO2 eq emissions from refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump equipment have decreased by over 13% since 1990 and are set to decrease even further in the coming 20 years.

Regulations on ozone depleting substances and fluorinated gases (f-gases) finally payoff: Despite more than a doubling of the refrigerant bank over the past 10 years, CO2 eq emissions have already decreased substantially by more than 13%. For the coming 20 years, the study predicts a further emissions reduction between 15% and 60% whilst assuming continuous market growth.

The study, commissioned by industry association EPEE, looks at two future scenarios: On one hand, the “F-Gas Scenario” based on the full implementation of the F-Gas Regulation combined with current market trends. On the other hand the “F-Gas Plus Scenario” taking into account a more aggressive introduction of lower GWP refrigerants. The results clearly show that the containment principle of the F-Gas Regulation has already started to deliver. The “F-Gas Plus Scenario” illustrates the industry’s potential to go even further. Besides the introduction of lower GWP refrigerants, several other key factors contribute to achieving emissions ‘reductions, like the improvement of emissions rates, lower refrigerant charges and higher recovery volumes at the end of life of the equipment containing refrigerant fluids.

Andrea Voigt, EPEE’s Director General explains: “The ARMINES/ERIE study’s results show that by fully implementing the EU F-Gas Regulation, emissions reduction in 2030 will even exceed the Commission’s forecast by roughly 15%. By reducing the quantity of HFC refrigerants placed on the market via a phase-down scheme based on their CO2 eq content, emissions will decline further. It has to be understood, however, that using lower GWP refrigerants may require a re-assessment of their safety implications as most of the alternatives are mildly or even extremely flammable, which excludes their use in certain applications. There is no perfect refrigerant.”

Click here to read The Executive Summary of the study.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Fri, 07 Oct 2011 12:21:52 GMT

The Royal Government of Bhutan has unveiled a new commitment to phase out ozone-depleting substances. The initiative, which is supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was launched last week by Bhutan's Royal bride-to-be, Ashi Jetsun Pema, in the courtyard of Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the nation. The HCFC Phase-out Management Plan commits Bhutan to phasing out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are both ozone-depleting substances and greenhouse gases (GHGs), ten years ahead of the Montreal Protocol schedule. "We want to phase out HCFCs as soon as possible and maintain our country's status as a net sink for greenhouse gases," said Dr. Ugyen Tshewang, Secretary of the National Environment Council (NEC) of the Royal Government of Bhutan.

HCFCs in Bhutan are primarily used in air-conditioning and refrigeration units in its large industrial establishments, hotels and resorts, corporate offices, governmental sectors, as well as domestic servicing sector. To achieve the targets set in the Plan, Bhutan will follow a three-pronged approach for HCFC phase-out comprising the following elements: 1) Limiting the supply of HCFCs; 2) Reduction of the demand for HCFCs for servicing existing equipment; and 3) Limiting new demand of HCFCs. This approach aims to reduce the dependence on HCFCs until the final phase-out in 2020.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Tue, 04 Oct 2011 20:52:38 GMT

Source: Sun Start Manila - Starting 2013, the Philippines will cut imports of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), a group of ozone-depleting substances, as part of its commitment to lessen the impact of climate change. The import ban on HCFC is part of the country's compliance to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, to which the Philippines is a signatory in 1986, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje said in a press briefing on Tuesday. The ban will initially cover the foam sector, particularly the polyurethane rigid foam in appliances, panels, and sprays.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Sun, 10 Jul 2011 12:56:46 GMT

In light of recent and future legislation likely to encourage the use of natural refrigerants, the European organisation of Air-Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heat Pump Contractors (AREA), has issued a guidance paper outlining the basic competences that contractors should have when dealing with low Global Warming Potential (GWP) refrigerants such as hydrocarbons. According to AREA refrigeration contractors dealing with hydrocarbons should pay particular attention to safety issues and the need to use specific tools when installing and servicing such systems. Basic competences include criteria such as: avoid contact with sparks of fire or to carefully position thermostats in fridges to avoid ignition in case of leaks.

For more information, click here.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Tue, 05 Jul 2011 02:46:57 GMT

The German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) sees necessity for an international and legally binding regulation of fluorinated greenhouse gases. In a report published in November 2010, the UBA has outlined how to get there. An English version of the report is available now and was presented at a panel discussion in Brussels last week.

With the report “Fluorierte Treibhausgase vermeiden - Wege zum Ausstieg” (How to avoid f-gases: pathways to a phase-out), the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA) intends to clarify the environmental and climate impact of f-gases, outline available alternatives and deliver a status report for decision makers at the national, European and international level. The report, published in November 2010, is a revised version of the report “Fluorinated greenhouse gases in products and processes - technological measures for climate protection” published in 2004. New findings and developments over the last 7 years have been included in this basis of evaluation in the updated report which compares the technological state of the art of the use of f-gases with legislative as well as voluntary measures by the industry to reduce carbon emissions. On 14 June 2011, the UBA presented the English version of the report in a panel discussion at the German Permanent Representation in Brussels, Belgium. Over 50 participants discussed with Jochen Flashbarth, UBA president, and representatives from the European Parliament and the European Commission, as well as Greenpeace and industry members, if and how natural refrigerants can be an alternative for heating and cooling applications. 

Click here to download the report.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Fri, 17 Jun 2011 18:17:55 GMT

The Finnish Customs Services in Vaalimaa in cooperation with the Finnish Environment Institute recently reported a seizure of more than 15 tons of R22 – a hydroclorofluorocarbon (HCFC) used as refrigerant and foam blowing agent. R22 is an ozone-depleting and global warming gas whose production, consumption and trade are strictly controlled under the Montreal Protocol and by European Union regulations.

On 27th of February 2011 a truck coming from Latvia tried to cross – allegedly by accident - the Vaalimaa Customs checkpoint in Eastern Finland which is the primary customs and border-crossing between the European Union and the Russian Federation. Because of the suspicious behavior, the truck was scanned (see photos) and 1150 refrigerant cylinders of 13,6 kg each detected – in total 15,64 tons. The cylinders and their packaging were labeled R22 and hidden behind a cover cargo of glass- and ceramic ornaments and other decorative products. The analysis at the Customs Laboratory confirmed that the cylinders actually contained R22. The R22 cylinders were mis-declared and did not show any serial numbers. The goods have been seized and will eventually be destroyed. Investigations concerning the origin of the chemicals and the people involved in this smuggling case are ongoing.

Several other investigations concerning ozone-depleting substances are currently ongoing:

  • Shipment of 14,8 tons of R22 originating from China which arrived in Koper, Slovenia (EU) end of April 2011 for re-export to Serbia without valid export / import licenses.
  • Seizure of 39 tons of R12 originating from China and seized by Customs in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation end of 2010 without valid export / import licenses.
  • As part of WCO’s global operation Sky-Hole-Patching II in 2010, several seizures were reported by European & Central Asian countries including Armenia (240 kg of R502), France (44 tons of HCFCs), Poland (14 kg of R22), Sweden (472 pieces of equipment) and Uzbekistan (736 kg of different refrigerants and 26 pieces of equipment).

Congratulations to the Finnish Customs Service in Vaalimaa for their vigilance and alertness and their contribution to protect the ozone layer, climate, human health, ecosystems etc.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Wed, 08 Jun 2011 14:31:41 GMT

The European Commission has formally adopted a ban on the use of industrial gas credits in the EU's Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) from May 2013. The proposal dates from 25 November 2010 and the Council approved the ban on 21 January 2011. The ban will apply to credits from projects which destroy two industrial gases: trifluoromethane (HFC-23), a by-product of chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22), a refrigerant in air conditioners and refrigerators, and nitrous oxide (N 2O) from adipic acid production used in the manufacture of nylon. HFC-23 and N 2O are both powerful greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change. Essentially, the ban means that companies will be able to use credits for compliance with emissions in 2012 under the EU ETS until 30 April 2013, but not thereafter. No further use restrictions are currently foreseen under the EU ETS beyond industrial gas credits.

Source: EuroPolitics

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Mon, 06 Jun 2011 13:54:07 GMT

MEPs on the parliament's environment committee backed an extension of the EU's 2020 emissions reduction target from 20% to 30% in a vote on Tuesday. A reduction of at least 25% should be achieved domestically, they said.The vote was on a resolution drafted by Green MEP Bas Eickhout asking the EU executive to put forward a proposal by the end of the year. It was passed by 44 votes to 14, with one abstention, and will be considered by the full parliament on 23 June. "The European Parliament's position has been shifting over the last year," said Mr Eickhout. "There is now broad support for a 30% reduction target and a growing realisation that ambitious climate policies are in Europe's own economic interest."

The environment committee also backed a parliamentary question asking for more EU action on non-CO2 greenhouse gases. Tabled by Christian Democrat MEPs Richard Seeber and Theodoros Skylakakis, the text says reductions in HFC emissions can be made for between five and ten cents a tonne – far cheaper than cuts in CO2.

The MEPs have also prepared a draft resolution on the topic. They give few concrete policy proposals but want more action within and outside the EU on HFCs, HCFCs, black carbon and the pollutants responsible for low-level ozone formation. Commission representatives told committee members that it is already reviewing the f-gas regulation and policies addressing air pollution, and has backed previous attempts to phase down HFC production through the Montreal Protocol.

Source: EndsEurope

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Fri, 03 Jun 2011 12:35:57 GMT

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA ) is calling for an end to the expensive UN program that pays over a billion dollars a year to capture and destroy the super greenhouse gas HFC-23. On the eve of an expected decision by the UN's Clean Development Mechanism on the HFC-23 methodology, EIA is calling for the methodology to be retired and the current contracts for HFC-23 destruction not to be renewed. HCFC-22 manufacturers would assume responsibility for destroying HFC-23 waste gas generated during HCFC-22 production, including the minimal costs for capture and incineration.

Since 2005, Kyoto signatories have spent several billion dollars to obtain some 260 million carbon credits (Certificates of Emission Reduction - CERs) for offsets resulting from HFC-23 destruction projects, mostly in China and India.

Because revenues from HFC-23 credits are so much greater than the cost of HFC-23 destruction, many manufacturers can earn more from selling HFC-23 credits than from producing HCFC-22. This has created a perverse incentive that encourages manufacturers to produce more HFC-23 than is necessary just so they can be paid to destroy it. It has also subsidized developing nations' production of HCFC-22, itself a greenhouse gas and an ozone depleting substance that is currently being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Fri, 03 Jun 2011 09:18:48 GMT

Recently the Government of Belize passed the Refrigeration Technician (Licensing) Act which not only allows refrigeration and AC technicians to better organize themselves but it also ensures that each technician will be trained to use products that are harmless to the environment. Indeed Belize like the rest of the world is making a change in the substance it uses in the refrigerant and AC sector. That is being done through a wide education and training campaign.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment started a scholarship program in which 18 youths received scholarships to study refrigeration and air conditioning at the Institute for Technical and Vocational Education and Training. Another initiative of the government is to train and certify practicing technicians. The Ministry has trained and certified over 300 refrigerant and air condition technicians on “Good Practices in Refrigeration” and “Recovery and reuse of refrigerants.”  Over 75 enforcement officers including Police, BDF, Customs and Traffic have been trained on the licensing system and on prevention of illegal CFC’s trade as well.

Belize has been a leader in the emission of green house gases and phase-out of ozone depleting substances. The Ambassador of Switzerland was present at the launching of the HPMP. His Excellency Rudolf Knoblauch explained that the Government of Switzerland will provide US$100,000 towards the implementation of the phase-out plan and assist with technical support.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Mon, 09 May 2011 15:53:36 GMT

On 9 May 2011, the United States, Canada, and Mexico submitted a joint proposal to phase down the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, adding to the previously submitted phase-down proposal by the Federated States of Micronesia.
Both amendment proposals will be considered at the 23rd Meeting of the Montreal Protocol Parties in November 2011 in Bali, where developed and developing countries will endeavor to reach consensus.

Under the North American proposal, developed countries would lead the effort beginning in 2015 to gradually phase down to 15% of baseline levels by 2033. Developing countries would take their first step to control HFCs in 2017, phasing down to 15% of baseline levels by 2043.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the amendment proposal would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 98 gigatons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2050.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Mon, 03 Jan 2011 11:18:48 GMT

GTZ Proklima carried out many conversion projects from fluorocarbons to natural refrigerants around the world including in Mauritius.
The German Government Development Agency (GTZ Proklima) together with the Ministry of Environment of Mauritius are converting the air-conditioning of two government buildings. Existing CFC-12 and CFC-11 chillers are to be replaced with ammonia chillers. The project is designed to demonstrate the feasibility and enhanced energy efficiency of ammonia chillers in tropical climates. The project provides technical and safety training to engineers and service technicians.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Tue, 21 Dec 2010 14:41:46 GMT

In Jamaica have completed numerous conversions of R-22 installations to hydrocarbons with significant energy savings. These conversions of used equipment demonstrate that hydrocarbons can be safely applied, and should be an incentive to equipment manufacturers to produce new air conditioning units with propane and other hydrocarbons.

A conversion project has been developed at the University of West Indies, Mona Campus: Econergy Engineering Services in cooperation with Rexham Engineering as a sub contractor converted nearly 4,000 air-conditioning units from HCFC-22 to R-290 on the Mona Campus of the University of West Indies, Jamaica. These included window, mini-split and central air-conditioning units. The energy reductions due to the superior efficiency of propane, average between 15 to 20% per unit. In addition, the hydrocarbon units require less maintenance and repair. These two factors combined results in very significant cost benefits to the university.

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Thu, 16 Dec 2010 10:10:01 GMT

« Old refrigerators have harmful gases that can damage the environment, » says Aing Thong owner of a small service shop in the heart of Phnom Penh. « We tell the customers how they affect the ozone. But they care more about the cost. » Thus, UNEP and UNDP are helping Cambodia launch education drives for service shop employees. They are told about why certain chemicals are harmful to the environment and how to properly repair appliances so that the harmful gases don’t leak into the atmosphere. So far, the program has train more than 1,000 technicians around the country. But the next challenge facing Cambodia will be its ability to phase out HCFCs, which are safer for the ozone layer but a very potent greenhouse gas. UNEP figures show the consumption of HCFCs has actually risen over the last decade in Cambodia, even as CFC consumption fell. Like other developing countries, Cambodia is bound by a schedule to gradually reduce HCFC consumption, aiming for a 10 % reduction by 2015, a 67.5 % reduction by 2025 and a complete phase-out by 2040. Pak Sokharavut, the deputy Director of the Department of Pollution Control at Cambodia’s Ministry of Environment, believes the phase-out is crucial: « Climate change is a global issue. It’s not just a Cambodian issue. We have to do our part and think globally. »

By OzonAction UNEP-DTIE on Thu, 02 Dec 2010 17:43:13 GMT

The Maldives plans to phase out the use of HCFCs by 2020, 10 years ahead of the country’s international obligations under the Montreal Protocol. The decision underlines the Maldives’ concerns over greenhouse gas emissions which cause climate change.

The Maldives hopes that by leading the way and discontinuing the use of HCFCs early, we can demonstrate that early phase out is possible and practical, leading the way for other countries to follow suit. The government’s decision is in line with the Maldives’ ambitions to become carbon neutral, by pioneering low carbon development and ecologically sound tourism.

For the Maldives, the HCFC phase out is an important part of a wider shift towards green growth and development, where the environment is viewed not as something to be plundered but as a precious economic asset to be protected.