Radical Changes Urged for Huge E.U. Farm Program

A planned overhaul fails to adequately protect the environment and support small farmers, a group of scientists said.

Farmers in northern Poland. Europe’s farm program has sidelined small farmers and supported practices that have led to global warming, erosion and the loss of biodiversity, a group of scientists said.

Credit: Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Europe’s $65-billion-a-year farm program needs to change radically if it is to protect the environment and support small farmers, a group of European scientists said in a paper published in the journal “People and Nature” on Monday.

The 21 authors of the paper said a planned overhaul of Europe’s farm policy is inadequate. They said policymakers must stop paying farmers based on the acres they cultivate and instead reward environmentally friendly practices such as organic farming or agroforestry. The scientists also asked the European Union to cut off subsidies that encourage livestock farming, which is linked to a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Billions of euros of taxpayers’ money are about to be poured down the drain,” the scientists said in a statement.

A new Green Deal plans to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Last week, the European Commission outlined ​plans to make the deal legally binding for all member states.

But the package will not reform farming because it has adopted old policies and repackaged them as climate-friendly measures, the scientists said.

“The climate measures are unjustifiable. There is nothing in there,” said Guy Pe’er, a German conservation biologist and the leading author of the paper.

“The commission is taking a step back backward,” he said.

Mr. Pe’er has collected signatures from more than 3,600 scientists and researchers on his website supporting the paper’s findings.

The scientists said that Europe’s farm policy has sidelined small farmers and supported practices that have led to global warming, soil erosion, land degradation and the loss of biodiversity. Subsidy programs that could have curbed the damage have been paltry and underfunded.

Last year, a New York Times investigation showed the disconnect between Europe’s green image and its farm policy, which has caused lasting environmental damage and left visible pockmarks across Europe. Decaying algae release deadly gas on some beaches in France. Farm runoff has helped expand dead zones in the Baltic Sea. And farmland emissions of greenhouse gas are on the rise.

The farm subsidies program accounts for nearly 40 percent of Europe’s budget, making it one of the biggest in the world. It is riddled with corruption and self-dealing, especially in eastern and Central Europe, where leaders have diverted money to underwrite their governments or companies, the Times investigation found. Attempts to change the system or make it more accountable have failed partly because its biggest beneficiaries are in charge of setting policy.
Corruption plagues the farm subsidies program, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of Europe’s budget.
Credit: Akos Stiller for The New York Times

For all the documented problems, leaders in Brussels have shown little interest in overhauling the policy. In January, the top European agricultural official promised to introduce anti-corruption measures in response to the Times investigation but did not provide any specifics.

And the new farm policy, which is being negotiated this year, will continue to use the land-for-money formula that favors those who own vast tracts. The formula has long been criticized for creating a modern feudal system in which small farmers can barely make a living.

Nearly a third of the payments go to “greening measures” designed to reduce emissions, preserve grassland and save wildlife. But commission officials have acknowledged that this has failed to accomplish much.

Under the new rules, member states will have more control over how much they invest in environmentally friendly measures. But critics say this is likely to encourage countries to opt for the easiest, “light-green” options because the policy does not have a clear scale to measure their successes or failures.

As long as policymakers in Brussels operate behind closed doors, small interest groups will have more influence on the outcome, according to Mr. Pe’er.

“This is really a power game,” he said.


Mr. Pe’er said that policymakers ignored research on the farm policy’s impact after spending “loads of money” on it.

“The scientific community is there to help,” Mr. Pe’er said. “But for that, they need to listen.” SOURCE


Action needed for the EU Common Agricultural Policy to address sustainability challenges

Deadly heatwaves could affect 74 percent of the world’s population

How many deadly days await us? Researchers at the University of Hawaii Manoa studied events such as the 2003 European heatwave (70,000 dead in two weeks) and the 2010 Moscow heatwave (10,000 people dead in two months) to identify when heat and humidity conditions turn lethal.

Their research combined data from deadly heatwaves with climate forecasts for major cities.

By the end of the century, their findings suggest, the world would experience deadly conditions 365 days per year across areas of Australia, India, Africa, and the Amazon.

Two maps of the world comparing days per year with temperatures above deadly threshold


Rebuilding our partnership with nature

You may have heard the fable about “the boiling frog”. It’s a simple experiment in two steps: Take a frog and place it in a pot of hot water. The frog will react immediately and jump out of the pot. Take another frog, place it in a pot of lukewarm water. This will feel like a nice warm bath but, then put it on a hot stove and heat it very gradually. The water will reach boiling point but, unfortunately, the frog will not perceive the danger and it will be cooked alive.

As I woke up on that day, 31st of December 2019 at 4 am, in the small town of Ulladulla, a beautiful corner of New South Wales, Australia, I wondered if we had reached that point of no return, a tipping point. The sky was dark, the air smoky, and the flames bloody orange. What climate scientists had been predicting for years was becoming a reality.

That day marked the end of a fiery decade for the planet, and hopefully the start of a new era with the emergence of an ecological civilization. Can nature come back to life after so much destruction? Is there space for recovery, rebirth, regeneration in the aftermath of the large-scale inferno of mega-fires?

2020 is also the start of my 40th year of life on Earth. A time to look back and rethink the next steps. In my entire life, I had never experienced such a deep feeling of fear and emergency.

I had lived some intense challenges and risky situations: working as a humanitarian volunteer near the Afghan border in Tajikistan when I was 21; climbing difficult rocky peaks with my future husband; facing adversity when giving birth to our daughter, or crying out a mix of joy and pain on the finish line of the Jungfrau Marathon in freezing conditions. I had seen despair and poverty in the eyes of lonely women living in the forgotten suburbs of San Fabio de Alican in Chile, but, I had never seen anything like that. It felt like the apocalyptic end of the world.

It felt like the entire world was committing climate suicide, starting with Australia where people were either feeling too lethargic to get out of their comfortable sunbaths (including ourselves as holidaymakers), or feeling the heat of fires to the point that they had to take refuge on the beach.

Luckily on that day, some of our best friends who live in Canberra (and escaped the flames in Sydney), sent us a map of the expanding fire hazards advising us to leave as soon as possible.

In an effort to stay calm and rational, we packed our bags, put the sleepy kids in the car and left before sunrise. The weather forecast was predicting intense heat and strong winds, the perfect ingredients to heat up the stove on a stock of wood fuel perfectly prepared by three years of droughts. Three hours later the roads were closed in both directions, North and South, leaving the people of Ulladulla, in an isolated enclave, to shortages of food, water and fuel, power cuts, a lot of despair, and finally the unavoidable escape to the ocean.

“What were you doing there on New Year’s Eve?” you may ask. Being born and raised in France, I met my husband Matthew in Canada on an exchange programme between the University of British Columbia and Sciences Po, Paris. My sister-in-law, Aija, met her husband Danny, they got married in New South Wales, Australia and had three children. They are therefore cousins of our two children: Lucas and Leïla. Despite my reluctance to get on an aeroplane that would be emitting so much carbon (even if compensating by investing in reforestation projects), we decided to stick to our plans and hold our family reunion in Newcastle, Australia, as my mother-in-law was also joining us for the occasion.

In a way, our family is a pure product of globalization from the 2000s, the “happy decade” when everything was still possible. At that time, we could still change the world. Can we still do that today?

As I was watching the flames greedily absorb the beautiful Australian bush, I asked myself if this was real, and it was.

I had started studying and working on climate change about 20 years ago. At that time, I found the discovery challenging but also fascinating. In addition, there was no Greta Thunberg to tell the younger school students about the reality of climate science. My studies and work changed my perspective on humanitarian action, which I had been passionate about. It became clear that we could only achieve poverty reduction and sustainable development if addressing the root causes of natural disasters. Putting stitches on open wounds would not be enough. After witnessing the impacts of drought and soil erosion on agriculture and food systems in Tajikistan, I went back to studying the environment at the London School of Economics. I wanted to learn about how we could rebuild the bridge between development and the environment.

As I was advising the green Members of the European Parliament this brought me to my first UNFCCC COP in Montreal in 2005. One thing I remember clearly was visiting the ice-breaker with my friend Agnès Sinaï, a climate journalist and writer. We were given the opportunity, as COP delegates to observe the graphs which showed the evolution of the melting ice in the Arctic. At that time, we were convinced that the Kyoto Protocol was going to save us with a legally binding agreement and quantified emission targets for all industrialized countries.

Kyoto failed. Copenhagen failed. But then there was Paris, in “The City of Light”. The success of COP21 brought so much hope to the world, demonstrating the capacity of all nations to come together in a model of shared leadership and solidarity to tackle the “defining issue of our times”. Humanity and light in a time of horror and terror, as if millions of candles had been lit to brighten the sky for future generations.

I sometimes compare the Paris Agreement to a giant sailing boat, travelling towards the safe horizon of carbon neutrality by 2050, with all of us on board. The US President may have decided to jump ship, in a self-jeopardizing act of selfishness, but the boat is still there, going through episodes of storms and sun. Because there is no plan B for humanity. There is only plan A, also for all of the other living species on Earth which we have taken with us onboard this Noah’s Ark of Paris.

Today, in 2020, is the boat sailing fast enough to safely reach it’s destination, staying below 2 or even 1.5°C?

Global warming has been creating its own feedback loops. The oceans are becoming warmer and more acidic, reducing their capacity to absorb carbon. Forests are drier and burn more easily, particularly in Australia, Brazil, Canada, California and the Arctic. In Siberia, the permafrost is melting and releasing vast quantities of methane, another powerful greenhouse gas that will speed up global temperatures. In parallel, human beings have never been so numerous, on the planet, and so greedy in oil, gas and coal consumption. Global emissions keep increasing, reaching top-roof levels.

In Australia alone, as of January 2020, more than 5.5 million hectares have already been burnt and this is only the start of the summer; thousands of people have lost their homes; several firefighters and volunteers have been killed; one-third of the koala population has been decimated. An estimated one billion animals have lost their lives and at this scale, we can start talking about ecocide. The fires are also adding the equivalent of half of the total volume of greenhouse gases normally emitted by the country in a year, reducing its capacity to naturally absorb carbon in forests for next year and accelerating the 6th mass extinction crisis with the loss of critical endemic species and ecosystems.



Global warming could be boon for prairie crops

Canada is one of the few regions of the world where crop yields will benefit from global warming, according to a recently published Agriculture Canada research paper.

The benefits will be particularly pronounced for prairie crops like canola and wheat versus Ontario corn.

Yields were simulated by three crop modelling systems using 20 global climate models under different warming scenarios. It is the first study of its kind for Canada.

The four warming scenarios were increases of 1.5 C, 2.0 C, 2.5 C and 3.0 C over the baseline climate of 2006-2015.

“The findings indicate that climate at the global warming levels up to 3 C above the (baseline) could be beneficial for crop production of small grains in Canada,” stated the study published in the July 1, 2019, edition of Environmental Research Letters.

That is counter to what is expected to happen throughout much of the rest of the world, especially tropical climates.

Climate change has already caused an estimated 40 million-tonne reduction in world corn, wheat and barley production between 1981 and 2008. That represents a two-to-three percent hit to global production of those three crops.

Global warming is projected to be far more intense in Canada than the rest of the world. Canada’s mean air surface temperature has warmed by 1.8 C between 1950 and 2016, which is about double the global mean temperature increase.

Canada’s warming rate is projected to continue at a faster pace than the global rate due to polar amplification. That is important since heat stress can reduce crop yields.

However, there is another factor at work that is expected to more than offset the yield losses associated with heat stress in the years to come.

“Due to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration, C3 crops like canola and wheat can have more effective carbon dioxide responses to carbon assimilation than C4 crops such as corn,” study lead author Budong Qian said in an email.

Research has shown the doubling of carbon dioxide concentration increases yields in C3 crops by about 30 percent, while there was effectively no response in C4 crops.

Agriculture Canada’s findings are consistent with previous studies that have shown the largest yield gains will occur in water-stressed regions such as the Canadian Prairies due to improved water-use efficiency with elevated carbon dioxide levels.

Global warming is also expected to boost growing season precipitation levels by about five percent on the Prairies at warming levels of 2 C and 2.5 C, while a slight decrease in precipitation is forecast for Eastern Canada.

“Since the Prairie region is relatively cooler than Eastern Canada and water stress is the major factor limiting the canola and wheat yields, a bigger yield percent change was projected (for the Prairies),” said Qian.

The Agriculture Canada study shows an increase in canola and wheat yields for all four global warming scenarios under all three models.

The highest canola yield increase is 13.4 percent under the 3 C warming level. The biggest wheat yield bump is 22.8 percent under the same warming scenario.

Corn yields vary widely from yield reductions under every warming level for one model to a 19 percent increase under the 3 C scenario for another model.

The projections are based on current crop cultivars. The introduction of extended growing season corn varieties could vastly improve the outlook for corn yields.

Qian said weed and pest pressure might increase with global warming but that wasn’t factored into the crop models. It also didn’t take into account yield damage caused by increased drought, hail and flood events. SOURCE

Extinction Rebellion trial jury express regret at convicting activists

Three climate protesters glued their hands to a DLR train at Canary Wharf in April

 Police officers attend the scene of the Extinction Rebellion protest at Canary Wharf DLR station on 17 April. Photograph: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

A jury has expressed its regret at convicting three Extinction Rebellion protesters who glued themselves to a Docklands Light Railway train at Canary Wharf.

Cathy Eastburn, 52, Mark Ovland, 36, and Luke Watson, 30, were convicted at inner London crown court after halting DLR services in London’s financial district on 17 April, as part of a series of protests carried out by XR.

The activists had denied charges of obstructing the railway, claiming the protest was justified because of the threat of climate change.

Since October 2018, XR has waged a campaign of non-violent civil disobedience, including blocking roads, government buildings and other infrastructure, in an attempt to raise the alarm over manmade global warming and environmental destruction.

Image result for guardian: Climate protesters climb on top of train at Canary Wharf

 Climate protesters climb on top of train at Canary Wharf – video

 Climate protesters climb on top of train at Canary Wharf – video

The group encourages activists to allow themselves to be arrested when they break the law and hundreds have been charged and tried for various offences, but XR claims that Eastburn, Ovland and Watson are the first to have faced a crown court trial.

They were arrested during two weeks of demonstrations organised by XR that brought parts of London to a standstill over Easter.

During their protest, Watson, of Essex, and Eastburn, of south London, climbed on top of the train carriage and glued their hands to the roof. Ovland, of Somerset, glued his hands to the side of the carriage.

They had sought to use a defence of necessity, but Judge Silas Reid ruled it out and gave strong directions to the jury to convict the defendants. On Wednesday, after an hour of deliberations, the jury unanimously found the defendants guilty, but the foreman added the decision had been taken “with regret”.

Speaking after the verdict, Reid said he was minded to impose a conditional discharge, referring to the defendants’ “noblest of purpose”. The trio were released on unconditional bail and will be sentenced at the same court on Thursday. SOURCE


Exxon Mobil prevails in New York climate change lawsuit

In this Oct. 22, 2019, file photo, Ted Wells, Jr., the lead attorney for Exxon, leaves New York Supreme Court in New York, after opening arguments in a lawsuit against Exxon. Exxon Mobil prevailed Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019, in a lawsuit accusing the energy giant of downplaying the toll that climate change regulations could take on its business, with a judge saying the state attorney general’s case didn’t prove the company deceived investors — but also didn’t excuse it of any accountability for global warming (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)The Associated Press

NEW YORK — A New York judge on Tuesday ruled in favor of Exxon Mobil Corp in a lawsuit brought by the state’s attorney general accusing the oil company of hiding from investors the true cost of addressing climate change.

Justice Barry Ostrager in Manhattan Supreme Court ruled that the attorney general failed to produce any evidence that investors were misled. The case, filed in October 2018 in Manhattan state court, was the first of several climate-related lawsuits against major oil companies to go to trial. SOURCE

James Hansen: Fire on Planet Earth

“It is not just a climate problem. It is an energy problem. And a human rights problem.” — James Hansen
“Listen to the scientists” — Greta Thunberg

California fires are a minuscule piece of global change that will sweep through our planet this century and beyond, and the role of humans in the fires is debatable. Yet the fires are symbolic, an apt metaphor for consequences of global warming, if we do not alter our planet’s course.

I am concerned that, despite all the recent publicity about climate change, the public and policy-makers are not well-informed about the implications of climate change for energy policy.

I have a reputation for bluntly speaking truth to power, but for the last few years I minimized comments on energy policy, other than advocating a rising carbon fee & dividend. My rational: the only way I can make the basis for my conclusions really clear is to finish Sophie’s Planet.

The book is taking longer than planned, because of the need to do some science and write a science proposal. Now we enter an election year. I tried, but failed, to influence politicians and public opinion in the past. However, in a democracy, it is essential to keep trying.

Today, the potential enormity of the consequences, if we fail to communicate well the policy implications of climate change, demands that we ignore personal and institutional backwash.

Friends advise me that my assessment conflicts with deeply felt beliefs and might be interpreted as being critical of iconic individuals, which will make it difficult to obtain financial support for our group, Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions (CSAS). I hope that is not the case.

Analysis of energy and climate is a many-faceted scientific problem, which demands rigorous use of the scientific method[1] to achieve success. The objectivity of the scientific method is crucial if we are to achieve success. MORE  (PDF)

‘We are in the warmest five-year period ever’

According to the World Meteorological Organization, 2015-19 has recorded a 0.2°C increase over 2011-15

Photo: Getty ImagesPhoto: Getty Images

As the world descends on Madrid, Spain, for the 25th Conference of Parties (CoP 25) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), they have a climate emergency to deal with. But the planet is yet to get a proportionate reaction from countries.

By 2019, countries should have been on track to meet the first round of their emission reduction targets declared under the 2015 Paris Agreement. But only six of the world’s top 20 polluting nations have succeeded so far.

There is mounting evidence to show that global warming is at its highest level ever. According to Global Climate in 2015–2019, a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the five-year period of 2015-19 has been the worst in terms of global warming and resultant climate change impacts.

“The five-year period 2015–2019 is likely to be the warmest of any equivalent period on record globally, with a 1.1°C global temperature increase since the pre-industrial period and a 0.2°C increase compared to the previous five-year period” 

The report already forecasts that 2019 would be one of the warmest years on record. The last four years (2015 to 2018) were the four warmest years on record, according to WMO.

“Although only six months of data are currently available, (2019) will likely join them as one of the five warmest years — most likely second or third warmest — if temperature anomalies continue at the current high levels to the end of the year,” the WMO assessment said.

Last week, WMO, in another report, said that the concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere had breached all records in 2018. It is the highest-ever in the last three million years.

The rise in temperature coincides with the proportionate increase in the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The five-year assessment shows that the emission of GHGs like CO2 and methane has increased faster in 2015-19 than in the preceding 2011-2015 period. The growth rate is close to 20 per cent higher, according to this report.

The current year, already on path to be declared one of the warmest years on record, witnessed severe heat wave and wildfires from the United States, Australia and the Arctic. The new WMO assessment shows that the 2015-2019 period saw heatwaves impacting all the continents.

“Heatwaves were the deadliest meteorological hazard in the 2015–2019 period,” the WMO report said. Wildfires were reported in unusual geographies like the Arctic, including Greenland, Alaska and Siberia. The fires in the Arctic alone this year emitted 50 Mt of CO2 into the atmosphere, which is more than such fires did in 11 years ending 2018. SOURCE


GHGs Show No Slowdown, No Decline: #GlobalHeating Shoots Up

Flood of Oil Is Coming, Complicating Efforts to Fight Global Warming

A Norwegian oil platform in the North Sea. Norway’s production has declined for two decades, but its development of the Johan Sverdrup deepwater field should reverse the trend.
Credit: Nerijus Adomaitis/Reuters

HOUSTON — A surge of oil production is coming, whether the world needs it or not.

The flood of crude will arrive even as concerns about climate change are growing and worldwide oil demand is slowing. And it is not coming from the usual producers, but from Brazil, Canada, Norway and Guyana — countries that are either not known for oil or whose production has been lackluster in recent years.

This looming new supply may be a key reason Saudi Arabia’s giant oil producer, Aramco, pushed ahead on Sunday with plans for what could be the world’s largest initial stock offering ever.

Together, the four countries stand to add nearly a million barrels a day to the market in 2020 and nearly a million more in 2021, on top of the current world crude output of 80 million barrels a day. That boost in production, along with global efforts to lower emissions, will almost certainly push oil prices down.

Lower prices could prove damaging for Aramco and many other oil companies, reducing profits and limiting new exploration and drilling, while also reshaping the politics of the nations that rely on oil income.

Canada, Norway, Brazil and Guyana are all relatively stable at a time of turbulence for traditional producers like Venezuela and Libya and tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Their oil riches should undercut efforts by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia to support prices with cuts in production and give American and other Western policymakers an added cushion in case there are renewed attacks on oil tankers or processing facilities in the Persian Gulf.

Daniel Yergin, the energy historian who wrote “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Power and Money,” compared the impact of the new production to the advent of the shale oil boom in Texas and North Dakota a decade ago.

“Since all four of these countries are largely insulated from traditional geopolitical turmoil, they will add to global energy security,” Mr. Yergin said. But he also predicted that as with shale, the incremental supply gain, combined with a sluggish world economy, could drive prices lower. MORE


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Alberta alters rules on oil production limits to spur more conventional drilling


There’s huge potential energy savings hiding in our air conditioners

Bluon, with investment from Leonardo DiCaprio, can replace the usual refrigerants in AC units with something much better.

[Source Photo: tiler84/iStock]

Leonardo DiCaprio has become known for his environmental activism in recent years, donating money to causes and investing in companies helping to fight the climate crisis. It might seem unlikely that one of those companies would be a not-at-all glamorous, obscure startup that makes a new refrigerant for air conditioners. But the company, called Bluon, has technology that provides a relatively simple way to make big cuts in energy use. “He recognized quickly how impactful it could be in the real world fight for the reduction of greenhouse gases,” says Peter Capuciati, Bluon’s founder and CEO.

Swapping out the new refrigerant—called TdX 20—in place of old refrigerants in an HVAC system in a 100,000-square-foot office building can save enough electricity to eliminate 120 metric tons of CO2 per year, as much as the energy savings from converting 40 gas-powered cars to Teslas.

In the U.S. alone, residential and commercial buildings used about 377 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity to stay cool last year, or about 9% of total electricity use. Globally, by the middle of the century, energy demand from air conditioners is projected to triple as people buy the equivalent of 10 new air conditioners every second for the next 30 years. Ironically, the increase in extreme heat from climate change is leading to more sales of air conditioners and more energy use, adding to the climate pollution that leads to more extreme heat.

[Source Photo: tiler84/iStock]

Refrigerants first drew attention in the 1980s, when the growing hole in the ozone layer was linked to the chemicals, called CFCs, and governments agreed to put the Montreal Treaty in place to slowly phase them out. By 2013, new equipment no longer used this type of refrigerant. By the end of this year, no new CFC refrigerants, such as R-22 (better known as Freon), will be manufactured. But most of the refrigerants designed to replace them actually create some other problems—including the fact that they use more energy.

Capuciati, a physicist-turned-real estate entrepreneur-turned investor, saw an opportunity in 2012 to find a better solution. “All the replacements that I was aware of at the time were pretty poor replacements . . . they would decrease efficiency, meaning the equipment would burn more electricity doing the same job, they would cause the unit to run harder and longer,” he says. “Therefore, they break down more often. So you had this huge infrastructure that at the time was close to $1.5 trillion worth of equipment sitting around on rooftops across the country that was going to be in trouble when R-22 finally got phased out in 2020.”

His team studied the other products on the market and realized that the software that had been used to predict how they would work was flawed. After a couple of years, they were able to develop a more efficient product, and a couple of years later, they had EPA approval to sell it. Then, realizing that all new refrigerants require retraining the technicians who install them, they developed a training program and app for technicians to use. (Traditionally, the common method for determining if enough refrigerant has been added to an HVAC system involves touching the equipment to see if it has reached a temperature of “beer can cold,” but with any of the new refrigerants, not using a more precise method can blow up a very expensive piece of equipment.)

Now, as the supply of R-22 dwindles, the company is hoping that building owners who need replacement refrigerant in old systems will turn to its product and save energy in the process. The company also wants to address the problem of refrigerants leaking from systems; if the chemicals escape, they impact climate change far more than CO2. R-22 has a “global warming potential” of 1,810, meaning that it’s nearly 2,000 times as potent at CO2 as a climate pollutant. Most of the chemicals designed as replacements are even worse. Bluon’s new product still has issues if it leaks, with a global warming potential of 1,564. But the company says that its retrofit process focuses on eliminating leaks. It also argues that the total impact of its energy savings is much larger than what could come from leaks. Its goal is to recruit and train as many HVAC technicians as possible. “You’ve got several hundred thousand technicians, that, if you think about it, are the biggest army of energy consumption on the planet,” says Capuciati. SOURCE