Australian advocate of hydrocarbons in jeopardy

By Sabine Lobnig, Dec 10, 2008, 00:00 2 minute reading

Ground breaking work by the not-for-profit company Green Cooling Council to promote hydrocarbon refrigerants as a viable alternative for climate damaging HFCs could be lost as the Australian Government has delayed the payment of approved funds. A cease of operations could lead to the end of a nation-wide training scheme on hydrocarbons.

Australia’s essential transition to natural refrigerants is in danger of losing momentum, as one of their major advocates has been pushed to the edge of bankruptcy. The Green Cooling Council, a not-for-profit organisation founded to promote a turn-away from high global warming refrigerants, has thus been refused much-needed funds to restore its activities and is, since early December, under forced administration. Unless the government resolves the delay in payment of the Greenhouse Gas Abatement Program (GGAP) funding within the next few weeks, the Green Cooling Council (GCC) will irreversibly cease operation.

A possible solution has been proposed by Senator Christine Milne, who is urging the government to take immediate action to avoid termination of the project. On 4 December, Milne moved a motion in the Australian Senate, passed with Opposition support, calling on the government to acknowledge the “highly significant and internationally-recognised work to facilitate a reduction in the use of high global warming potential HFC greenhouse gases in the refrigeration and air conditioning industry”. She also highlighted the Council’s valuable contribution to preparing Australia’s industry for the introduction of the upcoming Carbon Polution Reduction Scheme (CPRS).

According to industry observers, the change of Government since the approval of the initial 2 million $ to fund the Green Cooling Council could be at the origin of the controversy. In order to ensure the continuation of the project, full payment of the milestones is required. In the interim, urgent measures will need to be discussed with the administrator.

Hydrocarbon training scheme in jeopardy

Another imminent setback would be the premature end to a Regional Skills Initiative grant proposal that was approved in September by the Federal Department of Education. It was meant to develop training materials and standards to facilitate the expanded use of natural refrigerants. Unless the government acts to restore the GCC to solvency, in total $600,000 of federal and industry funding will not deployed to provide vital training needs in the use of hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide systems. No other industry association can take over the training scheme, as had been hoped.

Background to The Green Cooling Council

Since its foundation in 2003, the GCC has been active in the promotion of natural refrigerants, including hydrocarbons, CO2, or ammonia. Beyond the Australian borders, the GCC has actively advocated the use of natural refrigerants in developing countries at international meetings, last at the international Montreal Protocol meeting in July.


By Sabine Lobnig

Dec 10, 2008, 00:00

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