Blockchain: 10MM lbs of SF6 Leaked This Week – Climate Week
10MM lbs of refrigerants leaked this week in the US
And in other news, Climate Week, an annual event that has taken place every year since 2009, was again hosted in New York City and Trakref participated for the second year. The summit takes place alongside the UN General Assembly and brings together international leaders from business, government and civil society to showcase global climate action.
Climate Week 2019 – Leaders Call for Greater Urgency & Action
During Climate Week NYC this year, the UN Secretary-General hosted a UN Climate Action Summit on Monday. Climate Week provided a space for leading organizations like Trakref from around the world to extend action far and wide outside of the UN building and throughout the whole week.
In the spirit of respecting the impact that travel can have on CO2 emissions, the Trakref team chose to host a live webinar based on our latest white paper Blockchain Impact on GHGs instead of making the trip to NYC. There were at least 100 programs hosted under several banners, we participated in The Clean Transport, Buildings & Infrastructure segment.
The event is hosted in cooperation with The Climate Group, whose mission is to accelerate climate action to achieve a world of no more than 1.5°C of global warming and greater prosperity for all. They do this by bringing together powerful networks of business and governments with the intention of shifting global markets and policies. They host companies, governments and nonprofits from all over the world. They focus on the greatest global opportunities for change and offer an opportunity for people to learn about innovations and ideas that can solve some of the problems that are hurdles to scaling the problems we all face as part of climate change.
Blockchain Impact on GHGs
On Wednesday at 2PM (EST), we turned on our computers and shared our contribution with the world. We believe that blockchain can have a positive impact on GHGs (Greenhouse gasses) emissions. Presently more than 550 MM lbs. of refrigerant leak yearly here in the US. More than 7 billion lbs has leaked since 1995, and if we continue to follow a Business as Usual path, over the next 20 years more than 23 billion lbs of refrigerant will leak. And if I am still around to write this blog in 2037, then my headline will read “36 MM lbs of refrigerant leaked in the US this week”. Refrigerant markets are on track to continue to grow 5.6% annually. So refrigerant consumption will reach 1.9 billion lbs annually in the US by 2037. If we don’t change course, this will all leak.
2020 – 16 Million Cars
The EIA (Environmental Investigative Agency) published a paper earlier this year, that reinforced the findings published in Project Drawdown in 2017 which identified refrigerants as the single largest opportunity to reduce CO2 emissions in the world. The source of all this information comes from two places: 1) the EPA and 2) published data on refrigerant production provided by chemical companies. Since the EPA estimates 97% of gas continues to be vented yearly, then the true impact from 2020’s emissions will be the same as the carbon consumed by 16MM vehicles! This is about the same number of cars registered in the state of California. So if we stopped the leaks, then this would be like taking every car off the road in California. Imagine California with no cars, then you get the impact refrigerants are having on the environment.
Consumer confidence is now at an all-time low, with only 10% of consumers trusting green information from business and government. Without confidence in the claims, stakeholders are reluctant to exercise due diligence when purchasing, handling or reporting. Over the past 20 years an apparent Greenwashing of facts has influenced people. It undermined their trust in the systems that are in place to support them and provide guidance. Science has proven that refrigerants have an impact, and its significant:
R-410 = 2088 Lbs. of CO2
R-404 = 3922 Lbs. of CO2
R-134a = 1300 Lbs. of CO2
R-22 = 1810 Lbs. of CO2
Debates are no longer contemplating the impact, but now instead the path forward and how to solve this refrigerant management conundrum. We are in the 4th generation of refrigerants, which we arrived at by working together as an industry starting in 2004. Although Federal leaders were not thinking about generation 4 back in 2004, industry stalwarts like Carrier, DuPont (Chemours), Honeywell, Trane, York and others were all assembling 2-3 times a year and working to synthesize the chemical solutions with the right hardware. They have invested billions in new tooling, resources and production just to arrive here at the 4th generation of refrigerants that are low carbon, non-ozone depleting and safe for use. Recently I heard that even these materials might have an environmental impact, so can we continue to keep running to the next solution or is it time to make a stand?
Ozone is Under Repair – What’s Next?
GHG emissions related to F-Gases (refrigerants) represent as much as 15% of yearly emissions in the carbon sector globally. These gases present a particularly difficult challenge for policy makers and multinational companies working to address emissions within the global supply chain. Until now the solution to a chemicals impact has been to develop a new chemical because these governing bodies have always worked under the auspices that the gas will all leak. We cannot keep inventing new refrigerants in order to solve the problem of environmental impact from chemicals. We need to keep ourselves comfortable, our food cold and our data moving. What if we invested that same time (and money) in something that contained the leak, built integrity and worked within the supply chain that is built and functioning? That’s the question we asked ourselves back in 2005. Perfecting the answer has driven us for 15 years and empowered us to develop & deploy a solution that works and is proven. What if we had the right to choose the best refrigerant regardless of environmental impact, because we were committed to a world where these refrigerants did not leak?
Presently a buyer and seller agree on a price and terms, then they exchange money and materials. Then the new owner assumes control over the data and the next owner / buyer is unsure of the origin and has to rely on the trust and integrity of the seller. There is always a natural distrust between these parties. Back in the 1990’s when regulations first came out, we learned very quickly that the millions of pounds of refrigerant that came to the US from Russia were not really used and recycled (a condition of import). The market was awash in illegal refrigerants and you could not be sure if you were buying illegal material or not. So trust was not the driver. Need was the driver in a market where production had ceased, and supply was needed. Supply chain tracking systems were lacking. We see this happening today in Europe in spite of f-gas regulations, and this undermines market controls as well as safety.
Most refrigerants are sold in generic non-marked cylinders. These cylinders are the primary option for packaging in a market where supply chains are expensive to manage, and illegal refrigerant suppliers can rely on a lack of traceability. It is also important to note that fraud in transactions may represent as much as 20% of consumption misreporting, since there is no way for a system owner to validate that the gas additions were accurate at the time of invoice.
Click here to get access to our webinar slides and learn what you can do to help your organization reduce its carbon footprint.
Blockchain provides integrity & reliability by building a consensus — there is no dispute in the chain regarding transactions because all entities on the chain have the same version of the ledger. This past Wednesday we hosted a 45-minute presentation and discussed the macro issues that continue to allow refrigerants to be vented, we also offered a new path forward, please take advantage of this resource, we are proud to share and look forward to your feedback. Also take note, while you read this, about 15,000 lbs of refrigerant leaked here in the US. It does not have to be this way.
Written by Ted Atwood Ted is the President & CEO of Trakref, a cloud-based HVAC/R and refrigerant management software company that provides unprecedented solutions for commercial properties. He has spent more than 20 years in the HVAC/R industry, even owning and operating one of the nation’s largest refrigerant reclaim and recycling companies.