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EIA demands immediate end to HFC23 emissions

USA: The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has called on Chemours to cease activities that lead to emissions of high GWP refrigerant HFC23 and restore the damage done. 

The US refrigerant manufacturer yesterday announced the implementation of an improvement project to significantly reduce emissions of HFC23 at its Louisville, Kentucky manufacturing site by the end of 2022.

The EIA argues that this latest announcement comes more than five years after a nearly identical commitment the company made to the Obama Administration in 2015 to “control, and to the extent feasible, eliminate by-product emissions of HFC-23” at their production facilities worldwide. 

HFC23 has a huge GWP of 14,800 (12,400 under AR5) and is still used in ultra-low temperature applications for vaccines, medical utilisation, and semiconductor manufacturing. It is also produced as a by-product from the manufacture of the ozone-depleting HCFC refrigerant R22.

The group argues that, since the 2015 announcement, Chemours has emitted between 2.7 to 5.15MtCO2e each year in the co-production of HCFC22 and HFC23, with its Louisville facility responsible for 64% of all HFC emissions reported to EPA in 2019.

“It is shameful that in 2021, a major multinational chemical company is unable or unwilling to control and contain its own chemical waste, when other companies, including in developing countries, have been doing so for years. If Chemours is incapable of running this facility responsibly, it must immediately cease operations leading to these waste emissions,” commented EIA’s climate campaign lead, Avipsa Mahapatra.

Accusing the company of continuing to “shirk its responsibility to tackle a gas that has one of the highest global warming impacts,” Mahapatra added that inaction and Chemours’ “flagrant lack of accountability” flies in the face of global efforts to stop emissions of other greenhouse gases.

As well as calling for a cessation of activities that lead to the release of HFC23, the EIA has called on Chemours to restore the damage done by taking responsibility for the lifecycle climate impacts of their chemicals from cradle to grave.

Related stories:

Chemours plans to reduce HFC23 emissions8 March 2021
USA: Chemours has announced the implementation of an improvement project to significantly reduce emissions of HFC23 at its Louisville, Kentucky manufacturing site. Read more…

High GWP byproduct of R22 growing at alarming rate – 21 January 2020
UK: HFC23, a potent greenhouse gas created as a byproduct of the manufacture of ozone-depleting refrigerant R22, has been found to be growing at record levels in the atmosphere. Read more…

India to cease emitting HFC23 – 15 October 2016
INDIA: In addition to agreeing an HFC phase down, India has also decreed that its chemical industry must collect and destroy emissions of its most potent greenhouse gas, HFC23. Read more…

Russians accused of abusing carbon credits – 28 August 2015
RUSSIA: Carbon credits worth millions of euros are said to have been fraudulently claimed by Russian factories for destroying HFC23, a by-product of producing R22. Read more…

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