HFOs: The New Generation of F-Gases - Greenpeace Position Paper

Publication - 16 October, 2009
Greenpeace seeks the phase out of all F-gases, which present a growing threat to the environment. Greenpeace is not against the development of alternatives, but until our concerns about HFOs can be proven otherwise, the precautionary principle should prevail. Safer, cheaper and readily-available alternatives already exist for all applications, and given this fact, we favour the deployment of natural refrigerant and oppose the continuing dependence on synthetic refrigerants.

Executive summary: With the agreed phase out of CFCs and HCFCs under the Montreal Protocol, political work is now turning its attention to the strong negative impacts of HFCs on the climate and discussion is taking place on the next set of alternatives. The chemical industry is promoting new substances it calls ‘Hydrofluoroolefins’ or HFOs.

Chemically, HFOs are HFCs, but due to the negative connotations that HFCs have acquired, this new class of chemicals has been marketed under a different name. This is part of a marketing strategy to portray these new HFCs as having a low impact on the climate while glossing over their negative environmental effects. As set out in this Greenpeace Position Paper, these new HFCs have real and dangerous environmental and health impacts.

In order to prevent dangerous climate change, global greenhouse gas emissions need to peak by 2015, and start declining rapidly thereafter, reaching as close to zero as possible by mid-century. In order to achieve these ambitious objectives Greenpeace will support every sustainable means of doing so, in line with the precautionary principle and therefore without compromising the health and vitality of our planet or future generations. Greenpeace will continuously assess the sustainability of new technologies based on newly-available information.

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Number of pages: 4