E-card used by the Cokespotlight campaign, a joint Greenpeace/Adbusters effort, which successfully changed Coke's policy on climate-killing refrigerants.
CFCs to HFCs: frying pan to fire
Greenfreeze production line in Kelon factory.
When the dramatic discovery of the ozone hole in 1986 forced
thebanning of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's), the refrigeration
industryswitched to hydrofluorocarbons (HFC's). HFC's don't destroy
the ozonelike CFC's can. But they do cause global warming. Indeed,
some HFCgases are up to 11,000 times more harmful to the climate
than carbondioxide (CO2), your garden variety greenhouse gas.
To highlight the madness of this switch from CFC's to HFC's
andshow how it should bedone, Greenpeace launched the concept of
Greenfreeze in 1992. We mettwoscientists who pointed out how to
avoid HFC's altogether. We found anold fridge factory, appealed to
our supporters to pre-order enoughunits to finance a refit, helped
build the market and Greenfreeze wasborn.
It uses natural gases so avoids both depleting the ozone layer
andfuelling global warming. The chemical industry said it would
never workand the big refrigeration users lined up with their
friends in theindustry to dismiss our claims.
Well that was then, and this is now. Today there are over
100million Greenfreeze refrigerators in theworld, produced by all
the major European, Chinese, Japanese and Indianmanufacturers. It
is now available in most major markets with theexception of North
While Greenfreeze technology gradually gained a foothold in
thedomestic market in the late 1990's, large commercial users
continued touse refrigeration that causes global warming. In the
run up to theSydney Olympics in 2000 we targeted big refrigeration
users such asUnilever, Coke and McDonalds, all Olympic sponsors, to
live up to theguidelines of the green games which excluded
[ More on the history of
Coke in the spotlight
Coke caved in after a concerted online
campaign(CokeSpotlight.org)before the 2000 Olympics to buy green
refrigeration for new units.Before the start of the games all three
companies we had targeted
announced phase outplans for damaging refrigeration
technologies by the time of the 2004Olympics.
Today Coke plans to install no less than6,350climate-friendly
coolers and vending machines in the Olymic Gamesvenues in Beijing
and six co-host cities throughout China. Calculatedbased on an
expected ten year life span of the units, they reducegreenhouse gas
emissions by approximately 4,500 metric tons.
This isthe first time that 100 percent of the coolers and
vending machinesprovided by Coca-Cola to all Olympics venues will
feature HFC-freeinsulation, and HFC-free natural refrigerant. For
good measure, Cokehas also added a proprietary technology called
Energy Management System(EMS) that improves energy efficiency by
more than 35 percent.
"Thisinnovative approach of combining natural refrigerants and
energyefficient technology is a great example of how a business can
workwith other stakeholders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We
hopeCoca-Cola's efforts can accelerate industry-wide actions to
combatclimate change," said LO Sze Ping, Campaign and
CommunicationsDirector of Greenpeace China.
What's next for HFC's
Not to be outdone by Coca-Cola, the
Whitehouseis rumouredto beplanning an announcement at next
week's UN meeting on ozone depletingsubstances (the Montreal
Protocol), proposing aggressive targets tophase-out HFC gases.
Left unchecked, HFC's are expected tocontribute up to 5.2
percent of the world's global warming emissions by 2050.
It will take much more than publicpronouncements to tackle the
climate crisis. But as the Montreal Protocol comes to it's 20th
anniversary, and the story ofGreenfreeze demonstrates, creativity,
vigilance and a "can do!"attitude can transform even the most
familiar/dire characters andsituations.
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