When we think about what’s heating up the planet, we may picture CO2 from smokestacks and tailpipes. But there are other greenhouse gases that are even more dangerous. And some of these are hiding in garages and sheds all over the country. We’re talking about refrigerants. They’re the secret sauce behind how refrigerators and air conditioners keep things cool. But they’re heating up the planet. This week, in collaboration with NPR’s Planet Money, we take a ride with a couple of guys who tackle these climate threats with a pair of extremely high-tech tools: a van, and some cold hard cash. Then, we talk about the climate solution you could be interacting with every time you buy ice cream. This episode originally aired on October 22, 2020.
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Calls to action
- Find out what refrigerant your local grocer uses at climatefriendlysupermarkets.org.
- Check out how the big supermarket chains are doing on HFCs using the Supermarket Scorecard.
- As for your own household fridge, if you're in the market or know someone who is, choose an HFC-free model.
- Learn more about how to properly dispose of your fridge, freezer, air conditioners, and other such appliances at the end of their useful lives.
- Of course, you can always call Tim and Gabe to help with disposal too! Check out their work at Tradewater and Refrigerant Finders.
- Sign Green America’s Cool It! Campaign petition. While you’re there, find a climate friendly supermarket near you and thank them!
- If you’re a business owner, submit a letter to the Trump Administration asking them to ratify the Kigali Amendment, the international treaty that sets the phase down schedule for HFCs globally. You would be joining many states, major industry refrigerant suppliers, and elected officials from both sides of the aisle.
- The AIM Act is a bipartisan bill, supported by both the House and the Senate, that effectively would enforce the same HFC phase down schedule as the Kigali Amendment without needing to ratify it – it would cut HFC use by 85% by 2035! However, it’s likely to be vetoed by the current President. So….vote, specifically, #VoteClimate. And when it comes to local candidates those really matter too for things like public transit and composting and bike lines, so please do a little digging of your own on local candidates.
Finally, if you do end up taking one of these actions — do us a favor and tell us about it! We’d love to hear about what you did and what it felt like. So if you do something, record a short voice memo on your phone and send it to us at email@example.com. We might use it in an upcoming episode.