The refrigeration industry plays a major and increasing role in today’s global economy, with significant contributions made in food, health, energy and environmental domains, demanding the attention of policy makers.
In 2016, this industry represented around 2.3% of Australia’s GDP and directly employed about 214,000 Australians.
With renewed focus on food wastage, malnutrition and high tech pharmaceuticals the handling of products by the cold chain is expected to grow dramatically in coming years, and global warming is expected to drive additional growth in cooling technologies.
The recent development of a range of new synthetic refrigerants, coupled with natural refrigerants such as ammonia, hydrocarbons and CO2 , places greater responsibilities on Refrigerants Australia to monitor and respond to energy and safety issues, and ensure that appropriate regulation is in place for the protection of Australian consumers, those who work in the service industry and the environment.
Refrigerant Australia is technology neutral and works to ensure a level playing field throughout the industry, realising that the cost of free-riders is not only high, but such activities degrade this very essential industry.
The impact of the results of Refrigerants Australia’s advocacy and urging is clear in CSIRO estimates of emissions reductions.
Australia’s consumption of ozone depleting substances has been slashed over the past thirty years. By 2018, a miniscule amount of imports for servicing existing equipment was allowed and this will be completely halted in 2029. As a result of these steps, emissions of CFCs and HCFCs have also been reduced.
The CSIRO calculated that Australian CFC emissions and HCFC emissions declined by 3% to 4% per year from 1999 to 2012. As a result of these initiatives and other steps globally, the hole in the ozone layer is on track to close as predicted in the late 2040s.
In the early 1990s, the CSIRO estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerants were the equivalent of more than 100 million tonnes of carbon dioxide, significantly contributing to climate change.
By 2017, emissions had reduced by more than 90% and by 2036, when the HFC phase-down is completed, emissions from refrigerants will be about 99% less than in the early 1990s.
Refrigerants Australia represents an industry that has worked proactively with Government to provide real environmental benefit while allowing the industry to prosper. It is a good model and one that the directors intend to follow in the future.