Global Warming Potential (GWP) of Refrigerants: Why are Particular Values Used? (post Kigali update)
Ever since the Montreal Protocol agreed to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), there has been an increasing interest within the Protocol on climate issues. Decision XIX/6, taken in 2007, to adjust the Protocol to accelerate the phase out of HCFCs includes language to encourage the promotion of alternatives that minimise environmental impacts, in particular impacts on climate, as well as to prioritise funding for projects, inter alia, which focus on substitutes and alternatives that minimise other impacts on the environment, including on the climate, taking into account global-warming potential (GWP).
In 2016, the Montreal Protocol was amended to phase-down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are commonly used alternatives to ozone depleting substances.
While not ozone depleting, HFCs are greenhouse gases which can have high or very high global warming potentials.
This amendment requires a country’s consumption and production of HFCs and HCFC baseline to be expressed in CO2 equivalents (GWP-weighted tonnes). Therefore GWP values have now been assigned to each HFC and selected HCFCs and CFCs in the amended Montreal Protocol text.
In your work you may come across various GWP figures from technical experts, industry and other stakeholders which may not appear to be consistent with the Montreal Protocol ‘reporting values’. This factsheet aims to provide a brief description and some context for the different sources or different sets of GWP values.