New technologies with natural, energy-efficient refrigerants are gaining ground: but as we move into the future, we must not forget the huge emissions stocks in our old appliances.
Due to the increasing demand for refrigeration and air conditioning in developing countries, the stock of equipment, foams and products containing F-Gases (CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs) is rising rapidly. This also increases the number of old appliances from the cooling sector that are not disposed of in an environmentally sound manner. The substances they contain, which are heavily harmful to the climate and the ozone layer, escape unhindered into the atmosphere if not stored and disposed of properly - a huge problem.
"The timely introduction of Green Cooling, including energy efficiency measures and the shift to natural refrigerants, is of utmost importance."
The German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety commissioned GIZ with the project “Climate and Ozone Protection Alliance for ODS and HFC Banks Management”, in short COPA, to address this challenge:
"The contribution of the cooling sector to greenhouse gas emissions is growing rapidly. Therefore, the timely introduction of Green Cooling, including energy efficiency measures and the shift to natural refrigerants, is of utmost importance. At the same time, we must not forget the huge greenhouse gas emissions from F-Gases in old appliances. They need to be properly disposed of globally. This is why the German Federal Ministry for the Environment has been funding, among various other projects on Green Cooling, a GIZ project focusing on these gases in old appliances. In its new phase “COPA”, we are supporting the establishment of a global Alliance that will address the issue of the management of ODS and HFC banks”, says Dr Silke Karcher, Head of the EU Climate and Energy Policy, European Climate Initiative and Carbon Markets Division at the Federal Environment Ministry.
In focus: Metropolitan regions in China, Ghana and Colombia
In the first step, COPA aims to cooperate with metropolitan regions in the partner countries China, Ghana and Colombia. Further partner countries are to be added successively. For this purpose, metropolitan regions and partner countries that are to be advised within the framework of the alliance in the future are continuously analysed and defined. The project measures include, on the one hand, the establishment of the alliance through networking and political positioning, and on the other hand, the preparation of market studies (ODS /HFKW Bank inventories) and concepts for the pilot implementation of mitigation measures in selected metropolitan regions in the partner countries.
"The potential is huge: Preliminary studies by GIZ Proklima estimate that the annual emissions of ODS banks are equivalent to those of 441 coal-fired power plants. With the alliance, we want to build an international network of dedicated key players who are willing to tackle these enormous end-of-life emissions in a timely manner."
What to expect within the coming months?
In the first step, the focus is on establishing the alliance and developing mitigation actions in the three partner countries China, Ghana and Colombia. This will be done in cooperation with the UN-agencies United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) who will be strategic implementation partners of COPA from early on.
"For COPA, UNIDO seeks to support countries in end-of-life strategies, sustainable business models, and green financing when promoting circular value chains for RAC equipment."
"UNDP is willing to support the partners to strengthen their systems for the reduction of ODS and HFCs banks emissions."
In the long term, the alliance will contribute to the substantial reduction of emissions from legacy HFCs through technical advice to improve framework conditions, capacity building and the promotion of technology cooperation and transfer, as well as financial support for the development of appropriate recycling and destruction infrastructure.
"Countries face differentiated challenges in managing ODS banks," says Ole Nielsen from UNIDO. "By joining the COPA alliance, we will provide them with technical support, and mobilize financing for re-use and disposal. UNIDO is fully committed to circular economy practices. For COPA, UNIDO seeks to support countries in end-of-life strategies, sustainable business models, and green financing when promoting circular value chains for refrigeration and air conditioning equipment."
Xiaofang Zhou, Director at UNDP's Montreal Protocol Unit, is also convinced of the relevance of the Alliance: "The COPA initiative comes at the right time, as the HCFC consumption was reduced about 50% in developing countries and hundreds of millions of old appliances and air conditioners will be replaced by new technologies in the coming years. UNDP is willing to support the partners to strengthen the system for the reduction of ODS and HFCs banks emissions and demonstrate a cost-effective model that can provide sustained incentives for best practices, including safe end-of-life disposal of the chemicals."