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Report Urges U.S. Retailers to Switch Refrigerants

WASHINGTON — A report released Tuesday identifies the availability of climate friendly technologies for the refrigeration sector in U.S. supermarkets that will allow the rapid phase-out of HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons), which are growing contributors to climate change.

The report — "HFC-Free Technologies are Available in the U..S Market for the Supermarket-Retail Refrigeration Sector" — is the product of the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency, based in the U.K. with offices here. EIA urged U.S. supermarkets to use the information to convert to HFC-free refrigeration.

“Climate-friendly refrigeration technologies are currently available in the U.S., and EIA urges U.S. retailers to begin converting to HFC free refrigeration now when refurbishing existing stores and building new stores," said Danielle Gagne, EIA's HFC policy analyst, in a statement. Climate-friendly alternatives available in the U.S. include carbon dioxide (CO2 or R-744), hydrocarbons such as propane (R-290) and isobutene (R-600A) and ammonia (R-717).

More news: Retailers See Tradeoff in CO2 Refrigeration

Some U.S. retailers have installed one or more of the new refrigeration technologies highlighted in EIA's report to reduce HFC emissions, including Wal-Mart Stores, Sam’s Club, Supervalu, Fresh & Easy, Ahold USA and Wegmans.

"HFCs are the fastest-growing greenhouse gas emissions and will account for 20% of all GHG emissions by 2050 if action is not taken," said Mark Roberts, EIA's senior policy advisor. "Supermarkets can and should be leading the way in phasing out HFCs given the wide variety of available climate friendly technologies," he added.

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