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Don’t “Clean Up Your Country at the Expense of Our Country”


Ghana’s Campaign to Avoid Dumping of Damaging Appliances

1 April 2022— A new paper published today in the Duke Law & Policy Forum reveals the burdens developing countries like Ghana face as exporting countries transition to more efficient and climate-friendly cooling products. It underscores opportunities to strengthen the Montreal Protocol to make good on its mission to protect stratospheric ozone and climate while fostering environmental justice.

The Importance of Stopping Environmental Dumping In Ghana: The Case of Inefficient New and Used Cooling Appliances with Obsolete Refrigerants, authored by a team of international climate and ozone technical experts, explains how environmentally harmful product dumping (“environmental dumping”) of new and used low-efficiency cooling appliances with obsolete ozone-depleting and climate-damaging refrigerants in African countries impoverishes communities, hinders economic development, threatens ecological systems, and harms public health. The use of low-efficiency cooling appliances increases energy demand, leading to higher emissions and limiting affordable energy access in African countries. These low-efficiency appliances contain refrigerants with high global-warming potential (GWP) and may also contain ozone-depleting substances.

Powering refrigerators and ACs consumes about 17% of global electricity generation and makes up an increasing share of electricity demand in buildings. In many African countries, running a refrigerator for a year costs more than 10% of gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, assuming 459 kWh/yr consumption, which is well below the measured consumption of refrigerators in Ghana prior to the adoption of energy efficiency policies.

Money wasted on electricity pollutes air, water, and land with an increase in health care costs and associated misery. However, money saved on electricity can be spent locally on health, education, nutrition, and quality of life.

This pathbreaking publication is a blueprint for the shared responsibility of exporting countries, manufacturers, and importing countries. The publication calls on exporting countries to update and enhance the enforcement of their laws and urges global manufacturers to stop exporting inefficient products with obsolete refrigerants to Ghana and other African countries. Implicit in the article is the need for all involved to consider the environmental justice implications of policies that allow exporting products or components to the developing world that would not conform to the shipping or manufacturing country’s own standards.

“The high ambition of this paper is to raise the bar on global cooperation for stratospheric ozone and climate protection,” said Kofi A. Agyarko, Director, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, & Climate Change (REEECC), Ghana Energy Commission. “Ghana and all of Africa are demanding that trading partners help enforce the laws of importing countries that aim to protect the Earth for future generations. It is incumbent on all such partners not to add to the burdens our own enforcement personnel face as a result of environmentally harmful product dumping.”

“The junk appliances dumped in Ghana are energy vampires that are stealing energy needed for development, accelerating climate change, and harming the ozone layer, said Durwood Zaelke, President of the Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development (IGSD). “We’ll continue to support those working to stop these crimes.”

“It is quite remarkable when authorities from different government agencies come together on a policy of global importance. In this case, the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency and Ghana Energy Commission saw eye-to-eye on how to stop dumping of inefficient and obsolete cooling equipment and strengthened our resolve to continue this effort for Ghana, for all of Africa, and for the world,” said Emmanuel Osae-Quansah, Director, National Ozone Unit and Head of Climate Change, Ghana Environmental Protection Agency.”

“As a Senior Enforcement Officer for the Ghana Energy Commission I appreciate how powerful this publication will be in Africa’s vital efforts to fulfill the obligations of the Montreal Protocol and Paris Climate Agreement,” said Hubert Zan. “I am optimistic that governments of countries that export cooling appliances to Africa will realize that everyone benefits from energy efficiency improvement and the ban or phasedown of synthetic chemicals that are powerful ozone-depleting and greenhouse gases.”

The study was authored by Kofi A. Agyarko, Director, and Hubert Zan, Senior Enforcement Officer, Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, & Climate Change (REEECC), Ghana Energy Commission; and Emmanuel Osae-Quansah, Director, National Ozone Unit, Ghana Environmental Protection Agency; as well as Africa- and North America-based IGSD experts Stephen O. Andersen, Director of Research; Tad Ferris, Senior Counsel; Gabrielle Dreyfus, Chief Scientist; Xiaopu Sun, Senior China Counsel; Mohamed Rida Derder, Special Counsel for North Africa; Leslie Olonyi Bosire, Legal Advisor, Kenya; and Laura Bloomer, Staff Attorney.

The Importance of Stopping Environmental Dumping In Ghana: The Case of Inefficient New and Used Cooling Appliances with Obsolete Refrigerants, available for download here.