DuPont Position Statement on HCFCs and HFCs

In 1986, DuPont called for global limits on chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) consumption based on an international scientific consensus assessment that growing emissions of CFCs would eventually cause ozone depletion. In 1988, with scientific consensus showing that ozone depletion was already occurring, DuPont announced that it would totally phase out CFC production through an orderly transition to alternatives. We were the first company to take such action.

Today, DuPont manufactures hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) as alternatives to CFCs for the air conditioning and refrigeration industries.

HCFCs and HFCs have contributed to the rapid phaseout of CFCs and benefited both the ozone layer and climate, as reported in a paper co-authored by scientists from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the U.S. EPA and DuPont.  The paper was published earlier this year in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Science ("The Importance of the Montreal Protocol in Protecting Climate," March 20, 2007, Vol. 104, No. 12, pp. 4814-4819).  Results of the paper show that the Montreal Protocol international treaty will have reduced carbon dioxide equivalent emissions in 2010 by 5-6 times the reduction target of the Kyoto Protocol.

Furthermore, the acceleration of the HCFC phaseout has provided further benefits to the environment, as advocated by Dr. Mack McFarland of DuPont in his  May 2007 Congressional testimony. In fact, DuPont reinforced the need to accelerate the phaseout of HCFCs at the Montreal Protocol meeting in September 2007 in Montreal, Canada.  The company also urged governments and industry to take actions to minimize emissions of refrigerants and adopt non-ozone-depleting and lower global warming potential (GWP) alternatives, where possible.  The environmental benefits of an accelerated HCFC phaseout are clearly communicated on the U.S. EPA website  http://epa.gov/ozone/intpol/mpagreement.html as follows:

  • "Environmental Benefits of the New, Stronger HCFC Phaseout Agreement - The agreement to adjust the phase-out schedule for HCFCs is expected to reduce emissions of HCFCs to the atmosphere by 47 percent, compared to the prior commitments under the treaty over the 30-year period of 2010 to 2040. For the developing countries, the agreement means there will be about a 58 percent reduction in HCFCs emission over the 30 year period. 
  • "The estimated climate benefit of the new, stronger HCFC phaseout may be as much as 9,000 million metric tons (9 billion metric tons) of carbon dioxide equivalent (MMTCO 2-eq), or the equivalent of removing the climate emissions from 70 million U.S. passenger cars each year, for the next 30 years. This means the new, stronger HCFC agreement is equivalent to eliminating the climate emissions from 50 percent of all U.S. passenger cars each year, for the next 30 years.  
  • "Another way of explaining the climate benefit of the new, stronger HCFC phaseout agreement is to say it is equivalent to eliminating the climate emissions from the electricity needed by 40 million U.S. households each year, for the next 30 years, which would be eliminating the climate emissions from the electricity needed by 40 percent of U.S. households each year, for the next 30 years."  

While we do manufacture HCFCs and HFCs, we do not make the equipment that uses them, such as commercial refrigerators and freezers, and home and automobile air conditioning units. As a result, we are unable to estimate the GHG emissions due to losses during use and disposal of each product category down the value chain. At the same time, we continue to advocate responsible use and disposal so that emissions are prevented from entering the atmosphere.