When the national press gets its teeth into a cooling story, the results are inevitably messy.
Those of you in the audience at the Cooling Awards (which was great by the way - have you seen the photos yet?) will have heard my contempt for the Daily Mail and its attempts to turn the MAC DIrective into the biggest scare story possible.
For those who weren’t, let me summarise by saying that the Mail started by suggesting that new Mercedes cars might explode if they had R1234 yf in.
Then it upped the ante somewhat and suggested the gas that might result from such an explosion was ‘three times more toxic than Nazi death camps’.
Such utter contempt for the truth is breath-taking - based on discredited tests on a refrigerant that has since been approved by the global carmakers’ own research body, and the Germany safety authorities. No matter, though, since the Mail had by then achieved its daily goal of scaring its readers witless. I can imagine the editorial conference: “This story has got Euro laws, fire and Nazis in it, that’ll really put the wind up the older readers…”
So when I saw a headline in fellow Euro-bashers the Express a week or two ago saying “Taxpayers fork out £4.6million on replacing Government air conditioning to appease EU”, I was immediately both intrigued and prepared for the worst.
Turns out I was right to be prepared, since it didn’t take long to read that this apparently appalling waste of taxpayers money was actually Vince Cable’s government department correctly responding to the R22 Phase-Out by upgrading its AC system. That sum is not so huge when you consider the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills has a lot of office space to upgrade - and that spending is spread across three years.
More importantly perhaps, Vince Cable is doing what this industry been urging customers to do for about a decade; upgrade their AC systems to stop ozone depletion. This particular Euro law is not about ‘bent bananas’ or anything trivial, it is about helping to save the planet. And by the way, Mr Cable’s department is certain to save a small fortune on its electricity bills by upgrading to more efficient AC systems.
When the national press is involved, the story rarely favours our industry, and on recent evidence, the story is rarely true either. And sadly such sensationalism won’t make our job of convincing reluctant R22 users to upgrade any easier.