MLF Moves Closer to Phasing Out HCFC’s

Last  year,  the  U.S.  joined  the  EU,  Japan,  Canada,  Australia  and  New Zealand  in  pledging  $450  million  over  the  next  three  years  to  finance  the phase-­out  of  Ozone  Depleting  Substances.    Last  week,  the  U.S.  was  part of  a  group  of  countries  proposing  that  the  phase-­out  of  HFC’s  under  the Montreal  Protocol  would  be  “the  most  cost-­effective,  achievable  and  near-­ term  opportunity  for  significant  GHG  (Green  House  Gas)  mitigation.”

SOURCE  Environmental  Investigation  Agency
Copyright 2012   PR  Newswire.   All  rights  reserved 

EPA Petitioned to Withdraw Approval of R-134a

The  Environmental  Investigation  Agency  (EIA)  filed  a  petition  requesting that  the  EPA  phase-­out  the  use  of  R134a  in  most  applications  in  the  U.S. According  to  the  EIA,  “HFC-­134a  has  a  global  warming  potential  (GWP)  of 1430  (making  it  1430  times  more  powerful  than  CO2  as  a  greenhouse  gas) and  represents  approximately  half  of  all  HFC  use  in  the  U.S.  Many countries  already  use  or  require  the  use  of  low-­GWP  alternatives  to  HFCs, e.g.,  an  estimated  one  billion+  refrigerators  in  the  EU  and  Asia  run  on hydrocarbons  (GWP  <25)  rather  than  HFCs.   Although  hydrocarbons received  EPA  approval  for  use  in  the  U.S.  in  January,  no  timetable  has yet  been  established  to  require  their  use  in  domestic  refrigerators  and freezers  or  retail  stand-­alone  coolers  and  freezers.”
SOURCE  Environmental  Investigation  Agency Copyright  (C)  2012  PR  Newswire.  All  rights  reserved.   

Montreal Protocol’s North American Proposal

Reductions  in  HFC  production  by  2024

Delegates  to  the  Montreal  Protocol  met  on July  23-­27  at  a  Meeting  of  the  Montreal   Open-­Ended  Working  Group  (OEWG).  Significant  progress  was  made  on  a  prop amendment  to  phase  out  HFC  refrigerant summary  of  the  North  American  propo amendment:

  • T argets  21  HFC  and  2  HFO  refrigerants
  • Gradual  phasedown  (with  a  plateau)  as  opposed  to  a  phaseo an  alterative  refrigerant  may  not  exist  for  every  HFC  on  the  m
  • Reduction  in  consumption  and  production  of  listed  refriger according  to  the  following  schedule-­  20%  in  2024;  40% in  2034;  85%  in  2043
  • Baseline  for  developed  countries  is  calculated  as  HFC  and  85 consumption  and  production  averages  during  years  2005  thro
  • License  required  for  importing  and  exporting  HFC  refrigerants

The  Meeting  of  the  Parties  to  the  Montreal  Protocol  will  take  place  in   November  12-­16.

Carbon Credits for HFC-23 Losing Value

Less incentive to produce R-22 and destroy HFC-23

Established in 2005 , The United Nations created the Clean Development Mechanism which is a carbon trading system intending to decrease the amount of greenhouse gases emitted into the atmosphere. Countries participating in this program include the European Union, China, India, Mexico, Russia, Argentina and South Korea. In this market, one carbon credit is the equivalent of eliminating 1 ton of carbon dioxide. Gases
were rated on their power to warm the atmosphere. The more dangerous the gas, the higher their value.

HFC-23 is a byproduct of producing HCFC-22 refrigerant. HFC-23 has a value of 11,000 credits for every ton that is destroyed. To give you an idea of where this value falls in relation to other greenhouse emissions, carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles have a value of 1 credit and methane has a value of 21 credits for every ton that is destroyed. It is widely believed that the high value placed on HFC-23 is motivating R22 producers to increase production of R22 refrigerant. The United Nations reports that “the production of coolants was so driven by the lure of carbon credits for waste gas that in the first few years more than half of the plants operated only until they had produced the maximum amount of gas eligible for the carbon credit subsidy, then shut down until the next year.”

Michael Wara, a law professor at Stanford University, has calculated that in years when carbon credits were trading at high prices and coolant was dirt-cheap because of the oversupply, companies were earning nearly twice as much from the credits as from producing the coolant itself.

The United Nations is reducing the number of credits the coolant companies can collect in future contracts. Since 2007, credits have not been awarded to new factories destroying HF-23. Factories can now claim only 1% of their coolant production for carbon credit contract renewals.

With less reason to destroy HF-23, will manufacturers in developing countries continue to destroy it, or will they instead choose to vent it into the atmosphere? Will R22 production decrease in some nations?

Article cited – Lehren, E. R. (2012, August 9). Chilling Effect; Profits on Carbon Credits Drive Output of a Harmful Gas. Retrieved August 29, 2012, from The New York Times:;jsessionid=32B2581E72160373FBADB1DC5C71ECAA?a=957954&f=19