Appliances we use to keep cool are leaking gases that warm our atmosphere at a shocking rate.
Refrigerators and air conditioning units humming along are easy to overlook...but substances called refrigerants that are used in these appliances to keep things cool are melting the ice caps.
Refrigerants transform from liquid to gas and back continually as they cycle through coils in appliances, absorbing heat and promoting cooling. The most common refrigerants are greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are intensifying the climate crisis.
HFCs have thousands of times more warming power than CO2.
These harmful, human-made gases are leaking out of refrigeration systems and rapidly entering our atmosphere. As we do the crucial work of cutting CO2 emissions, we must address dangerous, extremely potent HFC emissions.
Eliminating HFCs and adopting climate-friendly refrigerants is a top solution to address the climate crisis that can prevent nearly half a degree of global warming. Better cooling can help prevent 460 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions - equal to eight years of global emissions - over the next four decades.
Climate change is a global crisis that is actively harming communities and ecosystems and threatening hundreds of millions of lives. This devastation will only escalate unless we act.
Improving refrigerants is a major climate solution, but the US lags far behind acting on this issue and emits the most HFCs of any country. The Trump Administration has scaled back rules that would limit HFC emissions and it hasn’t ratified a global treaty to phase out HFCs, despite bipartisan support in Congress and from the refrigerants industry.
With these barriers to policy action, we need to hold companies accountable for their HFC emissions, which leads us to supermarkets.
Walmart is one of the world’s largest retailers and it has a massive refrigerant footprint. The company’s annual HFC emissions are over 2.8 million metric tons, or the energy equivalent of powering all the households in San Francisco.
Walmart's sustainability initiatives say that it’s “transitioning away” from refrigerants with high global warming potential but it has not released concrete goals on making this a reality in all stores (read more on these claims here).
Walmart has failed to honor past agreements to address HFCs, even though they make up nearly half of the company’s total direct emissions.
The company has known the urgency of this issue for years but has not taken serious steps to put its words into action. We’re calling on Walmart to finally develop a plan to cut these harmful super pollutants from its stores.
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Green America has partnered with the Environmental Investigation Agency to bring you a new way to take action for people and the planet: support the growing movement to eliminate harmful super pollutants called HFCs from our supermarkets.