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What Your Freezer has to do With Climate Change

Today's story is about your freezer, fridge and air conditioners. According to Paul Hawken's book, Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, management of refrigerants is the number one action we can take to reverse global warming. Currently, the most common gas used for refrigeration, hydrofluorocarbon (HCF), is friendly to the ozone but is an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

In October 2016, parties to the Montreal Protocol (1989) signed an amendment, called the Kigali Agreement, to phase out the use of HCF gases in refrigeration. The agreement is expected to reduce the manufacture and use of of these gases by roughly 80-85% from their respective baselines by 2045. Some sources report this phase down is expected to arrest the global average temperature rise up to 0.5  to 1.0 F by 2100. The Montreal Protocol was been extremely successful and it is anticipated that the Kigali amendment will be also.

Canada and 64 other countries had ratified the amendment as of December 2018. The USA has not. You can read an excellent article by Phil McKenna on Inside Climate News as to why, when it has support from Republicans and the US Chamber of Commerce, this has not yet happened. For readers in the United States, contact your government representatives and call on them to support the industry advocates attempting to move this agreement through congress.

Following is an open letter to the chair of the Canadian Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute, Dennis Kozina, cc'd to the President and CEO Sandy MacLeod, requesting a public education campaign to educate consumers about the importance of choosing climate friendly products.

Dennis Kozina
Chair, Heating Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute
2350 Matheson Blvd East
Suite 101
Missasauga, ON
L8W 5G9


Dear Dennis Kozina,
cc Sandy MacLeod

Open Letter Re: Kigali Amendment and Climate Change

I am writing to thank you for your part in ratifying the Kigali Amendment. The actions covered by the agreement have the potential reduce global warming by 0.5 – 1.0 degree Fahrenheit. This is the single biggest action we can take to reverse climate change and I believe this is one of the most important agreements of our time.

I am sure that you are working on guidelines across the board for the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute.

I recently purchased a new freezer. In order to determine if it contained climate friendly gas, I ended up having to call the manufacturing warehouse. This information was not included in the freezer's specifications. Neither the sales rep at the store nor the freezer company's customer service line could tell me.   In fact, they seemed unaware of the issue of refrigerants and climate change.

As a consumer, I am contacting you with four specific requests.

  1. Manufacturers should be required to list the type of refrigerant in the product specifications.

    There were several certifications listed for my freezer, I looked up what each one meant, but none of them was related to climate change. I hope that as the body representing this industry you will be instigating a certification that reflects the Kigali amendment agreements.
  2. Create a climate rating similar to the popular Energy Star rating which can be applied to all refrigeration products.
  3. Require that climate change ratings be featured prominently in all consumer marketing copy for the products as part of a larger scale public education campaign to guide consumer purchases and disposal of products containing refrigeration gases.
  4. Create an employee education program where employees working in all aspects of your industry are made aware of the amendment and it's extreme importance globally and the role they have to play its success.

I look forward to hearing what you are already working towards and your timeline for raising consumer awareness of this extremely important agreement.

Thank you,

EJ Hurst

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