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Short Lived Climate Pollutants


Reducing short-lived climate pollutants - including black carbon, HFCs, methane, tropospheric ozone - could slow the warming expected by 2050 by up to 0.5°C. Swift action in the areas of oil and gas production, waste management, transport, agriculture is key, and has many immediate health benefits. Photo ©B. Thornberry

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Website: HFCs Initiative
Contact: Denise.Sioson.Affiliate@unep.org

Hydrofluocarbons (HFCs) are potent manmade greenhouse gases used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (ODS), which are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol.

Under the HFC Initiative, national governments, non-state entities and private sector companies aim to mobilize efforts of all the non-state actors and governments to reduce the projected growth in use and emission of HFCs through various activities.

The abundance of HFCs in the atmosphere is increasing rapidly, by as much as 10-15% per year. If no measures are taken, HFCs have been estimated to amount to 9-19% of total CO2 emissions by 2050.

Yet an HFC phase down could prevent warming of up to 0.1°C by 2050 and warming of up to 0.5°C by 2100 , offering one of the most cost-effective climate mitigation strategies available to the world today.


Alternatives to HFCs are available and/or are being introduced for many uses.  Switching to these alternatives would not only lower the climate impact of refrigerant gases, but could also increase the energy efficiency of appliances.

Courses of action

Example of the HFCs Initiative activities:

  • 57 state and non-state entities already signed and submitted a statement to the UN’s Secretary General to support an amendment of the Montreal Protocol to phase down production and consumption of HFCs;
  • Coalition partners are completing national level HFC inventories, of both current and projected future use of HFCs in 14 developed countries, which will be aggregated in an HFC Inventories Summary Document that providing the global community and policy makers with key data and qualitative information to assist in the preparation of strategies to avoid or reduce HFC use;
  • The private sector launched the Global Food Cold Chain Council (GFCCC) and a Global Refrigerant Management Initiative (GRMI) to implement new practices and management to promote the transition of the food cold chain to low-carbon alternatives to HFCs. Join them!

Photo credit: CCAC


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