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Blog: The Emperor Has No Clothes

When environmental campaigner Greenpeace sprang to the defence of Daimler over its rejection of R1234yf, it certainly raised a few eyebrows in the cooling industry.

This tends to happen whenever Greenpeace chooses to point its green guns at our sector - there are plenty of people who still remember what mayhem they caused when they chose to make an example of Tesco almost twenty years ago over ozone depleting refrigerants.

More surprising is the fact that Greenpeace made a big thing about how bad Daimler were only a few years ago on the basis that the carmaker makes some of the most fuel guzzling cars in Europe. Suddenly they are best friends and it is all because Daimler is making a stand against HFOs - or, as Greenpeace keeps erroneously insisting on calling them, CFCs.

We know they dont really like each other, but the marriage of convenience obviously suits Daimler’s position to be seen as some kind of green campaigner, standing up for its right to wait until it is ready to install CO2 and fighting nasty old Europe’s attempts to make it use a ‘hazardous’ HFO. And obviously it suits Greenpeace, who like to cause mischief wherever they can.

There has been a lot of noisy agreement from the Eurosceptic brigade about the Daimler stance saying things like ‘We dont want the Europeans making us start fires in our engines’, but the fact is R1234yf has been given the green light by all the world’s carmakers except one.

After intensive and extensive testing, the carmakers’ own research group, SAE International has called it ‘safe to use in automotive systems’ and blasted Daimler’s test regime as ‘unrealistic’. The fact is only one organisation without an environmental agenda still believes it is unsafe and that is Daimler.

So maybe it is time to say for the record that by all objective reports, the HFO is safe to use in cars, but one organisation doesnt want to use it. Perhaps someone should shout that the Emperor Has No Clothes.

Readers' comments (1)

  • Janos Mate

    Greenpeace has some very legitimate concerns regarding the uptake and subsequent release of huge volumes of HFOs into the atmosphere. These concerns are summarized in the 2012 Greenpeace report, "Cool Technologies Working Without HFCs" (page 57 & 58). Since the early 1990s Greenpeace has been the lead global critic of the use of HFCs and HCFCs as the primary replacements for CFCs. Greenpeace persistently warned the international community about the global warming dangers of these substances and their unsustainability. Greenpeace has continuously advocated for the use of natural refrigerants which provide genuinely long term cooling solutions. Greenpeace also developed and made freely available to industry the hydrocarbon domestic refrigeration technology, which today represents nearly 40 percent of global production (with 750 million units already in the world). Greenpeace has no confusion about HFOs being CFCs (perhaps there may have been a typo error someplace), and correctly understands that HFOs are a new generation of HFCs. Greenpeace maintains that HFOs, are not environmentally sustainable or economically feasible, and that natural refrigerants like CO2 and hydrocarbons, can be safely used in mobile air-conditioning. There are already tens of millions of cars in the world being cooled with hydrocarbon refrigerants. Finally, Greenpeace maintains that all companies that are in violation of the EU Mac Directive should pay a compensation that is targeted towards carbon abatement.

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