CHINA: Two United Nations agencies have held a series of meetings in China this week to promote low global warming potential refrigerants for air conditioning.

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) brought together representatives from the Gulf countries, Chinese manufacturers, and companies from Japan and the United States who will jointly implement climate-friendly technologies in the air conditioning sector.

The meetings were based around the PRAHA (Promoting Low-GWP Alternative Refrigerants in the Air Conditioning Industry for High-Ambient Conditions) project, which was developed in 2013 by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) in association with several high ambient nations. The project aims to practically assess next-generation low-GWP refrigerants taking into account energy efficiency, environmental impact, performance, safety and cost.

Commenting on the initiative, Ole Nielsen, chief of UNIDO’s Montreal Protocol Division, said that PRAHA was helping to drastically change the mentality of manufacturers, by encouraging cooperation, rather than competition. “As a result of our efforts, we now see countries working together towards a common goal: avoiding greenhouse gases and achieving improved energy efficiency,” he added.

“By building prototypes and testing various alternatives, it became clear that a full product redesign would be necessary, and the appropriate components would need to be developed and made commercially available. International conferences and study tours in China and Japan educated participants about alternative technologies,” said Nielsen.

Now in its second phase, the PRAHA project will be extended to include more countries, including Egypt, Pakistan, Tunisia, and Vietnam.

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