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Australian cooling industry continues to engage in war of words over carbon reduction

Natural refrigerants advocate reacts to open letter from cooling bodies with accusations of self-interest

The Australian refrigeration industry is facing a major division between proponents of natural refrigerants and the remaining industry, with the two camps engaging in an extraordinary war of words over Australia’s progress towards carbon reduction.

Five refrigeration bodies – 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) - wrote an open letter to the Australian Refrigeration Association, which backs natural refrigerants, accusing it of misleading the public over its mandate to speak for the industry and challenging ARA’s calls last month for the government to act faster on adopting natural refrigeration techniques.

The signatories concluded: “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.”

Now Tim Edwards president of the ARA has responded with an extraordinary broadside against his accusers, referred to as the ‘synthetic refrigerants industry.’

In its response, the ARA said: “The attention of the world has turned to global warming this week and you say you have been supporting environmentally responsible practices since 2007. You have got to be joking. The truth is you and your global associates have been obfuscating the environmental impact of the RAC industry for decades. Most importantly, it is the synthetic refrigerants industry that created products that drilled a humongous hole in the Ozone layer and greatly contributed to the global warming and climate change issue.”

The ARA makes a number of accusations that suggest the synthetic refrigerants industry acts in self-interest, including accusing it of stockpiling two and a half years’ worth of refrigerants ahead of Australia’s short-lived HFC levy, and charging the same price as if the tax had been paid.

Mr Edwards said: “The matter has gone public. What has been a conflict behind the closed doors of the Department of Energy’s consultation is now available to everyone.”

 The full text of the ARA’s response can be seen here

Readers' comments (1)

  • With response to the ARA letter what you see are a new range of refrigerants been launched in Australia such as 438a/MO99 these contain 90% R125 and R134a refrigerants that are supposed to be phased out but now blended and given a new name HFO? Who are the synthetic group trying to fool? So how can this group talk about any phase out of refrigerants

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