Progress on HFCs has been glacial


Financial Times, 12 July 2016:

Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, seems pleased with progress on HFCs and other CFC substitutes (Letters, July 7). As someone who has been involved in this debate since the late 1980s, I have to say that progress has been glacial.

In 1989 the UK hosted a UN conference on ozone depletion, and I asked the prime minister why she was allowing the substitution of CFCs with powerful greenhouse gases. In her reply, Margaret Thatcher mentioned HFCs and HCFCs, but seemed unaware of their climate-changing potential. Some 27 years later, HFCs are still in widespread use and still contributing to global warming.

Perhaps Mr Zaelke can tell me how long he thinks it will take to solve global warming if it requires more than a quarter of a century to fix a simple technological problem.

Dr Robin Russell-Jones
Chair, Help Rescue the Planet,
Stoke Poges, Bucks, UK

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