Cooling groups write open letter to Australian Refrigerants Association alleging that it is misleading industry over government’s stance
A coalition of five industry bodies has written an open letter to the lobby group Australian Refrigerants Association, accusing it of what it believes are ‘a number of areas where it is misleading industry.” The letter is signed by the leaders of the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment Manufacturers Association (AREMA); the Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors’ Association (AMCA); Refrigerants Australia; Refrigerant Reclaim Australia; and the Automotive Air conditioning, Electrical and Cooling Technicians of Australasia) (known by its original acronym of VASA).
The move follows recent public statements where ARA called on the government to act faster on introducing low-GWP and specifically natural refrigerants.
The letter refutes the recent ARA statement that the Australian cooling industry has not had an opportunity to raise issues with the Department of the Environment over the review of the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Act.
The coalition said: “Quite simply, this is incorrect. Following the release of the terms of reference reviewing the legislation in May 2014, the Department established a Technical Working Group (TWG) that met repeatedly to input into the Act review. We the authors of this letter were all on the TWG, as were you. You did not bring a single proposal or concrete suggestion for consideration by the Working Group over the course of many meetings.”
“Also, where you now suggest that the analysis (eg. the cost benefit analysis) is inaccurate, you remained silent during the meetings. You had, as we all did, an opportunity to make suggestions, present views, and table proposals. ARA’s failure to get its views across is due to your inaction, not the department’s failure to listen.”
The signatories also allege that ARA is wrong to claim itself as a leading industry voice and that the organisation does not have a monopoly on speaking up for natural refrigerants. .They said:.”Mainstream industry voiced its view during
the TWG and is represented by the organisations we represent. We do want to highlight that you do not represent us or mainstream industry. The majority of your support, as indicated on your website, comes from companies selling hydrocarbons for use in retrofits. In claiming everyone else is driven by a commercial motive and you are not, is simply inaccurate. Further, you claim that you are the only organisation supporting “natural” refrigerants, however Refrigerants Australia represents companies that manufacture and sell and use more than 90 per cent of carbon dioxide and ammonia refrigerants, a point you fail to recognise. We all think that natural refrigerants have a role today and one in the future.
Other points the letter refutes include ARA’s contention that hydrocarbons are the most efficient refrigerant available acrossall applications; ARA’s implication that there is no training happening for those working with low-GWP refrigerants; and the implication that the rest of industry is not working to improve its environmental performance.
The signatories say: “You suggest that the RAC industry can improve its environmental performance. We agree. Indeed, mainstream industry has been arguing for an HFC phasedown since 2007 - a fact you consistently fail to acknowledge. We also believe you need to recognise industry’s recent successes. Emissions from refrigerant have declined by an order of magnitude over the last 15 years, and energy efficiency has improved by more than a third. These are tremendous successes. Can and should we do more? Yes, but the implication that mainstream industry is ignoring pressing environmental issues is disingenuous and fails to account for real victories.”