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HFC Emissions Threaten Climate, says UN

A study has demonstrated that refurbished refrigeration and air conditioning can produce 93 percent less greenhouse gas emissions than new equipment, as the UN reports that the HFCs produced by such equipment could pose a serious threat to the climate.

According the the study by Australia’s Curtin University, replacing a new compressor with a re-manufactured one would mitigate the release of around 1,470kg of CO2 emissions, Science Network Western Australia reports.

But anecdotal evidence suggests that convincing suppliers to sell the cheaper refurbished units has proven difficult, as new equipment can be sold for a higher price than a re-manufactured equivalent, the web site reports.

HFCs: A Critical Link in Protecting Climate and the Ozone Layer, produced by the UN Environment Programme, says that while the HFCs produced by such equipment are much better for the Ozone layer than the CFCs and HCFCs they replaced, they are still potent greenhouse gasses.

Currently HFCs contribution to “climate forcing” is less than 1 percent of all the other greenhouse gasses combined, but as their use as a CFC replacement increases they have the potential to “substantially influence” climate in the future, the report says.

CO2 equivalent emissions of HFCs (excluding HFC-23) increased by approximately 8 percent per year from 2004 to 2008, the report says.

Without intervention, the increase in HFC emissions is projected to offset much of the climate benefit achieved by the earlier reduction in the emissions of Ozone depleting substances, the report says.

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