Australian Refrigeration Association backs phase-out of HFCs

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 5th November 2012

On 12 – 16 November 2012 an international meeting of governments in Geneva will consider extending the Montreal Protocol to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

The Australian government and Australian Refrigeration Association (representing the refrigeration industry) are very supportive of the move. However, China and India and Brazil have been opposed to a similar motion every year it has been submitted for consideration over the past decade.

The Montreal Protocol was originally devised to phase out usage of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) which were depleting the ozone layer. However, CFCs were replaced by HFCs only to be later discovered that HFCs were an environmentally-harmful greenhouse gas.

The US , Australia and the EU countries have supported extending the ban to HFCs.

Tim Edwards, President of the Australian Refrigeration Association said that Australian companies were at the forefront of developing solutions to replace HFCs with energy efficient solutions.

“Australian companies stand ready to make natural refrigerant solutions available to assist in a Montreal Protocol driven HFC phase out,” Mr Edwards said.

According the Australian Refrigeration Association, the contribution of HFCs to global warming is rapidly increasing, and could become 14% – 27% of the increase in the warming impact of CO2 from 2010 to 2050.

Meanwhile the Australian Greens put forward a motion passed in the Senate last week claiming the Australian government was lacking in its support for the ban on HFCs.

“We need to also use our expert diplomatic clout to work with the governments of India, China and Brazil to urge them to stop blocking discussion and agreement,” the Australian Greens Leader Senator Christine Milne said.

Coca-Cola Company have already committed to eliminating all HFCs from its new vending machines by 2015. An earlier Australian Food News report noted that the Coca-Cola Company had said they would use their scale to aggregate demand and encourage supply as a means of accelerating the transition to HFC-free refrigeration equipment.

With industry groups such as Coca-Cola and the Australian Refrigeration Association strongly backing a move out of HFCs, some would argue The Australian Greens were followers rather than the leaders on this issue last week.