Briefs: California promotes ammonia

The US Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has proposed a bill designed to tackle the issue of high global warming potential (GWP) gases in California, and it is hoped that the bill will pave the way to national legislation. Ammonia is put forward as an environmentally and economically viable replacement for high-GWP refrigerants. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has proposed regulations to limit leakage of high-GWP gases. Its measures include: the establishment of a stationary refrigerant management programme to register large refrigeration and air-conditioning systems within the state, with compulsory leak checks and repairs; a GHG mitigation fee on the sale of refrigerants used to charge cooling equipment; new specifications for buildings and equipment using refrigerant technologies. These measures are expected to reduce emissions by over 15 million tons by 2020. CARB has set up inventory of statewide GHG emissions and the data suggest that emissions of high-GWP gases are expected to grow from almost 15 MMTCO2e in 2004 to more than 45 MMTCO2e in 2020 if no action is taken, with rising use of HFCs used to replace HCFCs being phased out under the Montreal Protocol cited as the culprit.