Research: Reducing HFCs can help sustainable development

Research: Reducing HFCs can help sustainable development

New research released today, in the journal Nature Climate Change, demonstrates how HFCs and other short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) can help countries meet all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In the research paper ‘Short-lived climate pollutant mitigation and the Sustainable Development Goals’, researchers Haines et al. explain that the SDGs that arose from the 2012 Rio+ 20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development can be achieved by reducing SLCPs.

“Many short-lived climate pollutant mitigation measures provide multiple near-term Sustainable Development Goal benefits, which can generate an appetite for even greater action,” said report co-author Andy Haines, professor of public health and primary care at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

SDG goal one is to eliminate poverty. Reducing expenditure on energy can indirectly contribute here, with the researchers citing HFC reduction as one way to do this.

Zero hunger, the second SDG, can be supported by “Improvements in refrigeration energy efficiency through HFC [phase-down] measures [which] can also contribute [by…] increasing the affordability of refrigeration and reducing food waste,” the researchers note.

They cite recent case studies where energy savings of up to 30% for refrigeration in commercial food stores were achieved with equipment based on propane and other low-GWP refrigerants.

The 13th goal of mitigating climate change can also be met by reducing SCLPs like HFCs under international agreements like the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which is estimated to avoid 0.5oC of warming.

“Governments have committed to achieving climate change mitigation goals, and they’ve committed to SDGs, but there’s often limited awareness of how those two are really linked,” said Drew Shindell, co-author and Professor of Climate Sciences at Duke University.

Reducing HFCs can also help deliver other goals such as quality education, decent work, economic growth, responsible consumption and production, and sustainable cities and communities, the report argues.

Research: Reducing HFCs can help sustainable development