Refrigerant gases have been added to EIA – Environmental Investigation Agency‘s first Global Environmental Crime Tracker.
This tool allows users to analyze and gain more information about what EIA calls the biggest eco-crime ever: the illegal trade in refrigerants.
EIA has 30 years of experience investigating and exposing the illegal trade in environmentally harmful refrigerant gases. Following the Montreal Protocol’s phase-out of ozone-depleting substances, illegal trade in these chemicals emerged in the 1990s, undermining efforts to repair the hole in the ozone layer.
Three decades later, we are seeing a surge in illicit trade in climate-damaging hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs were introduced as replacements for their ozone-destroying predecessors, but are now being phased out in efforts to combat climate change, with the European Union’s F-Gas Regulation doing pioneering work in this regard, followed later by the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
The EIA estimates that the potential climate impact of this illegal trade in the EU could amount to the GHG emissions of more than 6.5 million cars driven for one year. More information on this crime can be found in EIA’s “Europe’s Most Chilling Crime” and “Doors Wide Open” reports.
Low risks and high profits make the illegal refrigerant trade attractive to criminal networks, yet it is often not a priority for law enforcement agencies and penalties are usually low for a crime that nevertheless costs governments and legitimate businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue and causes significant emissions of ozone and climate damaging gases.
The global “tracker” of refrigerant seizures was developed with EIA’s Intelligence Team and contains information going back as far as 2001.
Seizure data is gathered from news reports, data submitted to the Montreal Protocol, and direct communications with governments and relevant authorities. The interactive interface and live mapping allow users to focus on exactly the information they want, such as type of refrigerant, country of export and method of smuggling.
And because EIA believes in sharing information to strengthen awareness and enforcement efforts around the world, it has made the tracker free and accessible to anyone interested, from fellow environmental activists to journalists and the public. Undoubtedly a great piece of work.
More information and contact details for those with information add to the “tracker: HERE