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Jay Stein's picture
Senior Fellow Emeritus E Source

Jay Stein, a Senior Fellow Emeritus affiliated with E Source, is one of America's leading energy technologists. Over the course of his over 40-year career he has played numerous roles, including...

  • Member since 2006
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  • Dec 22, 2020

Turns out, the stimulus package passed by Congress near midnight last night (12/21) also contains language phasing down the climate impact of HFC refrigerants. Time for all of us to either get acquainted with this issue or refresh our memory. Either way, check out my article from earlier this year.

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David Trahan's picture
David Trahan on Dec 22, 2020

Jay, are there any studies showing the ranking of pollutants over time up to our current time period? I know, as you describe, the CFCs are 1000s of times more harmful on atmosphere than CO2. Additionally, things like methane (from any source) are 100s of times worse than CO2.

Could it be we're focusing so much on the low end of the climate damage spectrum when working on those much more potent GHG elements creates a greater effect for the overall?

If we're only looking at the threshold of CO2 in atmosphere, are we missing all these other GHGs with far worse effects?

Just wondering if this had been studied.

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Jay Stein on Dec 22, 2020

David, there are several ways think about answering your question. If you’re talking solely about the magnitude of the problem, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), carbon dioxide and methane contribute far more to global warming than refrigerants. Indeed, compared to them refrigerants are a minor problem. Check out this NOAA study to get the details: NOAA/ESRL Global Monitoring Laboratory - THE NOAA ANNUAL GREENHOUSE GAS INDEX (AGGI)

However, when it comes to public policy, there is a lot more to consider, such as cost effectiveness and net benefits. I don’t know how it all adds up, but I do know that in the book edited by Paul Hawken titled Drawdown: the most comprehensive plan ever produced to reverse global warming, the researchers who investigated the 80 solutions contained within ranked Refrigerant Management the number 1 solution.

Thanks for your interest in my work.

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David Trahan on Dec 23, 2020

Thanks Jay, the links are very good references. Merry Christmas

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David Trahan on Dec 22, 2020

I think I found a good table with information I discuss in my post below.

Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing

Shows far more increase in the CFCs which are 1000s of times more damaging.

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