International media, including Reuters, UNEP News Centre and The New York Times, is buzzing about the July 15-23, 2016 climate change summit in Vienna, Austria and the significant progress that has been made on the global phasedown plans for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol. Negotiations involved nearly 200 countries, resulting in what many environmentalists have called “the most significant action this year to reduce global warming,” according to The New York Times. With the draft language emerging from Vienna, it is anticipated that a final deal could be ready to be signed at the October summit in Kigali, Rwanda.
The main goals for the Vienna meetings were to reach a global agreement on the following, before the final summit in Rwanda in October:
“Amending the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs is one of the single most important unitary steps that we could possibly take at this moment to stave off the worst impacts of climate change and to protect the future for people in every single corner of the globe,” Secretary of State John Kerry said in a speech to negotiators in Vienna.
What does this mean for the international fire protection market?
Time really is running out for HFCs, regardless of the industry or application. Discussions and advancements in policies that will impact the future production and availability of HFCs continue to progress.
In fact, earlier this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally requested advance comments from the fire protection industry on continuing the use of HFCs, like FM-200™, in fire extinguishing applications and the availability of substitutes or alternative technologies or processes that would obviate their continued use.
Unlike some industries, the fire suppression sector is well equipped with HFC alternatives including inert gases and 3M™ Novec™ 1230 Fire Protection Fluid. Because of this and a global HFC phasedown on the horizon, facility owners are already demanding sustainable technologies and responsible solutions that will last the life of their valuable assets.
The result: The specifying community is increasingly looking to exclude HFCs from specifications for new fire suppression systems. By switching from an HFC, like FM-200™, to 3M Novec 1230 fluid, which has a global warming potential of less than one, greenhouse gases in fire suppression can be reduced by more than 99 percent.
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