Shanghai/Bangkok -- A roadshow organized by UNEP OzonAction and the China Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Association (CRAA) has got underway in Shanghai to highlight safe alternatives to hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which damage the stratospheric ozone layer, in refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) technologies.
Many ozone and climate-friendly alternative technologies to HCFC-based equipment with improved energy efficiency are already commercially available and used in many RAC applications worldwide.
HCFCs are cooling chemicals that have been found to be destructive to the stratospheric ozone layer and are being phased out gradually under the universally ratified international agreement, the Montreal Protocol.
Countries are now developing policies and regulations to limit the consumption of HCFCs and industry is compelled to shift to alternatives. However, some HCFC alternatives being adopted are powerful greenhouse gases-such as high-GWP hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).
According to a recent assessment by UNEP, the global consumption of HFCs has doubled in the last decade. It is growing at 10 per cent a year and could account for up to 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2050-equal to the current emissions from the global transport sector.
The Ozone2Climate Technology Roadshow is running from 8 to 10 April at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre on the margins of the 24th International Exhibition for Refrigeration, Air-conditioning, Heating and Ventilation, Frozen Food Processing, Packaging and Storage (CRH 2013), one of the world's biggest exhibitions of its kind.
On 9 April, an Industry Roundtable is taking place, in which both industry pioneers and key government officers will discuss promoting investment, research and development in new environmentally friendly technologies for the sector.
'The need for a globally coordinated shift to environmentally friendly alternatives is urgent,' said Dr. Young-Woo Park, Regional Director of UNEP Asia Pacific. 'We encourage industry to leapfrog to greener and more sustainable RAC technologies that will also improve the energy efficiency of this equipment.'
A move to such alternatives is in line with the objectives of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), of which UNEP is one of the founding partners.
The cooperation of the RAC industry of China and the whole Asia Pacific region is indispensible in achieving the goals of the Montreal Protocol and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
'Over 25 years of rapid growth, China has developed into the largest manufacturer and the second-largest consumer in global refrigeration, air conditioning and heating industry,' said Mr. Zhang Zhaohui, Secretary General of CRAA. 'In order to protect the ozone layer and mitigate climate change, the industry is faced with the challenge of conserving energy and rapidly replacing HCFCs. We are very happy to join hands with UNEP and other partners in promoting, introducing and demonstrating the most advanced and most environment-friendly new technology,'
'Currently, China's RAC industry is making every effort to research and develop alternative technologies to replace HCFCs for the benefit of both the environment and Chinese business and economy,' said Mr. Xiao Xuezhi, Deputy Director General, Foreign Economic Cooperation Office, Ministry of Environmental Protection. 'The roadshow and roundtable are good forums for industry to share experience and inspire each other.'
The Shanghai exhibition is the third Ozone2Climate Roadshow organized by UNEP OzonAction and its partners. The first was in Maldives in May 2011 and the second was in Beijing in April 2012, which was also co-organized with CRAA.