Safeguarding our planet with climate-friendly cooling
Jessica Shulman
29 ஜூலை 2019

Global Warming. The Climate Crisis. The two single-most pressing issues facing humanity and life on earth as we know it. The main protector against both, is our Ozone Layer. And while there are myriad solutions-based approaches and preventative measures being taken all around the world to save our environment, it is commonly agreed in the international community that the most successful global effort in history has been The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete The Ozone Layer. Kofi Annan said so himself!:

“Perhaps the single most successful international agreement to date has been the Montreal Protocol”.

 

Protecting the Ozone Layer can put a stopper in climate change

The Montreal Protocol is the only universally ratified United Nations Agreement, signed by 197 states and the EU. It has more signatories than any other international agreement or body, including the United Nations itself. The Protocol was negotiated over 30 years ago, in 1987, and required its signatories to phase-out the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, which are now 99% obliterated!) as well as to phase-out/phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrochloroflurocarbons (HCFCs), – these are known as the key drivers of ozone depletion.

Safeguarding our Ozone Layer is the key to keeping the climate crisis in check, and Sri Lanka is committed to the cause, developing a Cooling Action Plan and adhering to the conditions of the Montreal Protocol and its subsequent amendments. The latest of which is the Kigali Amendment, pressing much of the developing world to reduce potent greenhouse gas emissions by way of reducing/restricting the use of ozone-depleting and global warming substances commonly used in every-day applications and appliances (like air conditioning, aerosols, foam and insulation).

Environmental experts note that the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol could be the single largest real contribution the world has made so far towards keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius; this amendment is a huge step forward to achieving that target.

 

 

“The Government of Sri Lanka was one of the first in the world to ratify the Kigali Amendment, showing our commitment to addressing the climate crisis. We have a responsibility to minimize global warming.”


– M.P.D.U.K Mapa Pathirana
Secretary State Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Sri Lanka

 

 

The biggest culprits of ozone-depletion (HFCs and HCFCs), are found in refrigeration and cooling equipment and appliances, and some of them have higher global warming potential than any other greenhouse gases. The irony is that as we strive to cool ourselves down, we find ourselves heating the planet up with these substances… requiring more cooling.

 

Sri Lanka’s commitment to clean cooling

Cooling through efficient and sustainable means contribute towards achieving Sri Lanka’s (and indeed the world’s) goals for greenhouse gas emissions reduction and climate change mitigation. The knock-on effects of this are the preservation of our Ozone Layer, natural resource conservation and air quality improvement.

Delivering clean cooling involves a radical reshaping of cooling provision; addressing technology, operations, financing and consumer behaviour in a holistic approach from a systems perspective. This is what the National Ozone Unit and the Ministry of Mawaheli Development and Environment in Sri Lanka have been striving to achieve; regularly collaborating with all stakeholders in the sector via consultation and through targeted outreach and awareness efforts.

The Sri Lankan Government is making progress towards achieving its 35% reduction obligation in the use of ozone-depleting HCFCs and is ahead of the curve in climate-friendly cooling, being one of the few developing countries that has implemented Recovery, Recycling, Reclamation (RRR) technologies for the sector. These technologies are crucial in order to avoid the release of the damaging substances into the atmosphere.

In addition, they are prioritising climate awareness in education and in practical application through their Training and Vocational Education Institutions.

For example, the Ceylon German Technical Training Institute (CGTTI) is one of the foremost institutes in Sri Lanka for the training of skilled specialists in the field of engineering – and is also the most well equipped and advanced technical training institute in the country for refrigeration and air conditioning. The institute is industry oriented and has partnerships with almost 120 companies all around the world.

The Institute is a warm and welcoming place where staff are fully invested in their students’ wellbeing and education. It shines bright as a globally recognised example of Sri Lanka’s commitment to the skills development of their young people and particularly to gender equal education. Many of its alumni (both male and female) now run successful – and environmentally sound – refrigeration and cooling businesses in places like Australia and the United States.

CGTTI houses one of Sri Lanka’s 9 recycle and reclamation centres. In 2018, they recovered and reclaimed almost 1,500kg of HCFCs – that’s 1,500kg of substances that otherwise would have ended up in the atmosphere, destroying the ozone and warming our climate. The importance of proper recovery, recycling and reclamation of potentially dangerous chemicals/gases cannot be understated as mistreatment of these gases can be fatal for the environment.

By continuing to reduce the use of ozone-damaging HCFCs and potent climate-warming gases (HFCs), investing in climate-aware cooling technicians and embracing environmentally-safe technologies whilst working hand-in-hand with country stakeholders to raise awareness of the importance of ozone layer protection, Sri Lanka is doing its part to avoid up to 0.4°C of global temperature rise by the end of the century.

 

 

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