Governments and industries in the UN’s Climate
and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) have agreed an action plan to
reduce global emissions of short-lived climate pollutants
(SLCPs), such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and methane.
The commitments, announced at the COP (Conference of
Parties) 21 climate change summit in Paris in December, fall
across four areas, including the refrigerant sector.
The Global Food Chain Council, which is part of the CCAC,
committed to cut the use and emissions of high global warming
potential HFCs, enhance energy efficiency and reduce food loss
in the food cold chain, a supply chain which is
The Global Refrigerant Management Initiative oversaw a
commitment from the refrigerant sector to reduce HFCs from
refrigerant servicing by 30-50% within 10 years. Cutting SLCPs
was described by scientists as a "second lever" for slowing
down global warming, in addition to reducing carbon dioxide
The UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) deputy
executive director, Ibrahim Thiaw, said: "SLCP reduction is an
example for the integrated approach taken in the 2030
Action on the sub-national level was represented by the
government of California, presenting the state’s
commitment to reduce black carbon emissions by 50% and methane
and HFC emissions by 40%.
The new generation of environmentally-friendly refrigerants,
hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), contain an increased proportion of
fluorine than the older ozone depleting refrigerants, HFCs.
Ray Will, director of chemical industry consulting at IHS,
told IM: "It is important that any plans made
at international level are followed up by ratification into
national law as well."
"For example, the US signed the Kyoto Treaty on an
international level but this was not followed up by
ratification into national law, so the Kyoto Protocol did not
apply to the US in the end. It is important to observe the
follow through," he added.
Will also said that the US and China have already signed a
bilateral agreement by executive order to reduce HFCs and the
EU has also enacted regulations to reduce HFCs, specific to
The transition plans are significant for the fluorspar
sector, since demand for acid grade fluorspar (acidspar) is
primarily driven by the fluorochemicals and aluminium fluoride
markets. Both sectors consume hydrofluoric (HF) acid as an
intermediate product, which is almost entirely manufactured
Demand from the two major downstream markets has dropped
considerably since 2012, putting pressure on fluorspar prices.
The transition to next-generation HFO alternatives to HFCs is
expected to be gradual, particularly in Asian countries,
however, without the emergence of new applications, the
long-term outlook is for reduced consumption of acidspar.