Refrigerant Banned in Europe; CO2 to the Rescue

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
refrigerant banned in europe co2 to the rescue

First we had to give up (freebasing?) freon because it was eating a hole in the ozone layer. Now The New York Times tells us the European Union is banning R132a, the refrigerant currently used in auto air conditioners. You guessed it: it's a greenhouse gas. The most likely replacement? Carbon dioxide. Yep, the bane of environmentalists everywhere could be cooling off your BMW in a few years. Even though tests with other coolants are still underway, Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and VW have all named CO2 as their refrigerant of choice. While the U.S. isn't considering banning R132a (yet), they're looking at other possibilities like R152a which is less of a global-warming threat. Each has its unique problems, though. R152a is slightly flammable, and carbon dioxide has to operate at five times the pressure of current systems. Anyone want to place any bets on how long either of them lasts before they get banned too?

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4 of 23 comments
  • Yasth Yasth on Dec 05, 2007

    Ummm Freon-12 was most definitely attacking Ozone, and almost certainly attacking atmospheric Ozone. It is a pretty easy experiment to run. SCIENCE If you have some left over R12 (a full can is/was worth a fair bit) and some method of generating ozone (be careful) you can run the test yourself, I don't recommend that though. The article is pretty disingenuous though, R12 was replaced because it does a real bit of harm not because of CO2 equivalent. That tidbit isn't mentioned until nearish the end.

  • OverheadCam9000 OverheadCam9000 on Dec 05, 2007

    You just aren't thinking outside the box... Ban A/C. Drive Naked! : - )

  • Bill E. Bobb Bill E. Bobb on Dec 05, 2007

    I've had the priviledge of riding in a RHD Hydrogen FCV Toyota Highlander with a CO2 A/C System. Worked dandy. Odd thing was the headliner Oxygen Sensors...if the evaporator leaks CO2 into the cabin, A/C cuts out.

  • Shagya Shagya on Mar 19, 2008
    The respected British journal New Scientist in a recent issue lists 26 different misconceptions put forward by "skeptics" on climate change. Some of these are funny like blaming cosmic rays or sunspots. But the most common is a weak attempt to appear "objective" ie. to promote the idea that "many scientists" dispute the evidence for these events. Here is an example of what NS has to say against this. Climate change sceptics sometimes claim that many leading scientists question climate change. Well, it all depends on what you mean by "many" and "leading". For instance, in April 2006, 60 "leading scientists" signed a letter urging Canada's new prime minister to review his country's commitment to the Kyoto protocol. This appears to be the biggest recent list of sceptics. Yet many, if not most, of the 60 signatories are not actively engaged in studying climate change: some are not scientists at all and at least 15 are retired. Compare that with the dozens of statements on climate change from various scientific organisations around the world representing tens of thousands of scientists, the consensus position represented by the IPCC reports and the 11,000 signatories to a petition condemning the Bush administration's stance on climate science. The fact is that there is an overwhelming consensus in the scientific community about global warming and its causes. There are some exceptions, but the number of sceptics is getting smaller rather than growing. Even the position of perhaps the most respected sceptic, Richard Lindzen of MIT, is not that far off the mainstream: he does not deny it is happening but thinks future warming will not be nearly as great as most predict. Of course, just because most scientists think something is true does not necessarily mean they are right. But the reason they think the way they do is because of the vast and growing body of evidence. A study in 2004 looked at the abstracts of nearly 1000 scientific papers containing the term "global climate change" published in the previous decade. Not one rejected the consensus position. One critic promptly claimed this study was wrong – but later quietly withdrew the claim. The fact that global warming is an issue does however mean that every government "solution" to this ... like Kyoto ... should be cheered. Most conservatives, or should I say neo-cons to be fair, deliberately equate "liberal" solutions with any issue, important or not, they don't like ... which they then also denounce as "liberal". To the poster who mentioned Michael Crichton. This is the guy who said that Africanized bees were a hoax. I have a friend in Tucson who says there are nine companies in that city who do nothing else but fumigate for these pests. A woman a block from his house was nearly stung to death, etc.. Overall most of the junk coming from neoconservatives depends on a decreasing level of literacy in order to gain acceptance. Eventually there will a price to be paid for this ignorance.