What are the high GWP gases and why are they a concern?
The high global warming potential (GWP) greenhouse gases include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6). Like other GHGs, these gases trap heat in the atmosphere, but they are hundreds and thousands of times more effective at warming the planet than carbon dioxide (CO2).
High GWP GHGs make up a very small portion of the total greenhouse gas emissions. They are, however, very potent and long-lived, which magnifies their effect.
HFCs and PFCs are used as substitutes for the ozone-depleting chemicals that are now restricted under the Montreal Protocol of 1987. These gases are used in a wide range of manufacturing plants and consumer products such as:
- Automobile and home air conditioners
- Propellants in consumer aerosol products like aerosol paint, personal care products, tire inflators, party spray (foam strings), air horns
- Spray foam insulation and other foams
- Electric power transmission
Emissions of these chemicals are only a result of human activities. They are released through direct use or unintentionally as an industrial byproduct. These chemicals are very stable and remain in the atmosphere for a very long time, so the concentrations of these potent GHGs will continue to rise for as long as they are in use.
High GWP GHG reporting requirements
Minnesota is collecting information about certain high GWP gases and their uses. (Minn. Stat. § 216H.11)
- Automobile manufacturers report to the MPCA the amount of refrigerant that leaks from air conditioners used in passenger cars, trucks and SUVs. This applies to new vehicles sold on or after January 1, 2009. Reporting forms and leakage rate data are available on the Mobile Air Conditioner web page.
- Manufacturers of these chemicals must report the amount of high GWP gases that they sell annually in Minnesota to the MPCA. The report for sales made in the previous year is due by October 1 of the current year. Submit completed forms to email@example.com.
- Companies purchasing more than 10,000 metric tons (CO2-equivalent) of any one high GWP gas annually must report purchases of all high GWP chemicals. The report for purchases made in the previous year is due by October 1 of the current year. Submit completed forms to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information, contact Anne Claflin at 651-757-2277.