Governments and businesses around the world are taking unprecedented action with respect to climate change. While renewable power sources and phasing out harmful hydrofluorocarbon gasses will likely play a big role in the world's fight against global warming, improving energy efficiency is perhaps the most cost-effective way to address the challenges of energy cost, energy security and global climate change. To help get the message out there, this will be the first in a series of Climate 101 blog posts and accompanying materials that discuss how improving industrial energy efficiency can make a huge difference - not only in reducing carbon emissions, but also in making businesses more profitable and competitive.
"Energy efficiency is the one energy resource that all countries possess in abundance.” - Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA
The industrial sector accounts for about one third of the total energy consumed and one-third of fossil fuel related greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. In addition to moral obligations to our planet, our children and future generations, there is clearly an ongoing need for companies to continue with their energy efficiency efforts, even with the prevailing low energy prices we are seeing today. Businesses cannot take it for granted that energy prices will continue to stay at the current low level over the medium to long term. While many industrial companies are taking some positive action, substantial energy efficiency opportunities for manufacturers still remain.
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Close to 200 nations agreed to a legally binding deal over the weekend to target and reduce hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases. Factory-made HFC gases are used in air conditioning units and fridges and can be 10,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide as greenhouse gases. HFCs replaced the previous use of CFC gases, which were even more damaging to the environment. HCFs are the fastest-growing greenhouse gases in the US, China, India, and the EU. If left unchecked, emissions of HFCs could grow to nearly 20% of CO2 by 2050 and 45% if CO2 emissions are limited in line with present international goals.
Under the agreement, developed nations, including the United States and much of Europe, commit to reducing their use of HFC gases incrementally, commencing with a 10% cut by 2019 that will increase to 85% by 2036.
More than 100 developing countries, including China, the world’s top carbon dioxide emitter, will begin taking action in 2024, siting that they needed more time because they have fast-expanding middle classes and hot climates, and fear of damaging their growing industries.
It is estimated that between 2020 and 2050, 70 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent, comparable to the emissions of nearly 500 million cars, will be prevented from entering the atmosphere thanks to a progressive reduction of HFCs.
The signing of this agreement is news that is dear to us at Thermal Energy International. We help our industrial and institutional clients reduce their environmental and carbon foot print while also saving them money through reduced fuel use.
For more information on how we can help your industrial or institutional operation reduce its carbon emissions through improving their energy efficiency, view our sector pages or contact us directly. And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for even more updates!