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Today, built into each cooling appliance and insulating foam in nearly every household, building, and car in America and across most of the world, there sits a type of fluorinated gas called a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and/or a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). When leaked out into the atmosphere, HCFCs cause the depletion of Earth’s ozone layer and both HCFCs and HFCs are extremely potent climate warmers.

There is a huge opportunity for chemical producers, equipment manufacturers, federal and state policymakers, major corporations, and maintenance professionals to come together to prevent as many of these potent chemicals as possible from making it into the atmosphere. This report makes a first attempt at laying out the starting point for an approach, referred to here as Lifecycle Refrigerant Management (LRM). LRM focuses on avoiding and reducing refrigerant leaks, promoting refrigerant recovery, and increasing reclamation rates to mitigate unnecessary refrigerant use and emissions.

Urbanization, rising temperatures, and more frequent heat waves in India are driving cooling demand higher. Further, as living standards rise and electricity reaches more homes across India, sales of room air conditioners (ACs) are growing. The room AC stock has skyrocketed from 2 million units in 2006 to approximately 30 million units in 2017. Air conditioners are now viewed as a necessity for a healthy lifestyle, similar to the perception of refrigerator ownership in the 1990s. But, ACs also burden electric grids with greater peak power demand, leading to higher power plant fuel consumption and increasingly poor air quality. Increased AC use also exacerbates harmful climate change caused by emissions of carbon dioxide from power generation and the release of refrigerants such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), potent heat trapping gases used in air conditioners. For the room AC market to grow sustainably, “climate-friendly” room ACs – those that are both energy efficient and use climate- safe refrigerant gases – are needed.

This factsheet provides an overview of the growing Indian AC market, strategies to advance climate- friendly ACs, and market opportunities under the Montreal Protocol.

Patents and other intellectual property such as know how are a complex issue for policy makers and civil society experts, especially considering the large number of patents involved and the sensitivity and confidentiality around licensing agreements. This paper does not attempt to find a solution to the patent debate. Rather, it examines developing country experiences in dealing with patents during earlier transitions under Montreal Protocol as well as highlights the key issues faced by Indian industry and policy makers.

This paper discusses key aspects of proposed amendments for phasing down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, including the North American proposal, Micronesian proposal, and the European Union discussion paper. It also discusses key features that could be included in a proposal to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol, including control measures, grace periods, financial assistance from the Multilateral Fund, intellectual property rights, and safety. Furthermore, this paper explores the reasons why countries should consider their own amendment proposal. This paper is part of ongoing research on phasing down HFCs and is part of a series of papers already published on the benefits of switching to lower-GWP alternatives, including Cooling India with Less Warming: The Business Case for Phasing Down HFCs in Room and Vehicle Air Conditioners6 and Reducing Stress on India’s Energy Grid: The Power Sector Benefits of Transitioning to Lower Global Warming Potential and Energy Efficient Refrigerants in Room Air Conditioners,7 among others. 

This interim draft paper explores the energy efficiency and power sector benefits of air conditioning companies in India to “leapfrog” and phase down high GWP.

This paper explores the business case for Indian AC companies to phase down HFCs and move to a future based on climate-friendly refrigerants and energy-efficient equipment designs.