UNDP works with Brazil on a massive CFC-elimination project

07 Dec 2009

Brazil, a land of great beauty and even greater potential, is an economic engine of Latin America and the fourth most populous democracy in the world. But with this great potential comes an even greater danger as the specter of climate change looms large on the horizon.

In 1993, UNDP became involved in one of the most ambitious CFC-elimination efforts in the world, an effort that has resulted in not only real environmental change but also a new, greener economy for the production and safe disposal of appliances. After China and India, Brazil was the third largest consumer of hydro chlorofluorocarbon gas, better known as CFC. CFCs are found primarily in refrigeration and other cooling devices, and virtually all homes in Brazil have one. But these greenhouse gasses are also deadly to the environment: in addition to destroying the ozone layer, one tonne of CFC can warm the atmosphere 10,000 times more than one tone of CO2.

For the past two decades, UNDP has been working in partnership with the Government of Brazil in the realization of its national strategy to eliminate all CFCs, beginning with the development and production of new, CFC-free refrigerators and ending with the safe disposal of all CFCs from old appliances. UNDP not only helped Brazil to mobilize resources from international finance mechanisms, but it also assembled a high level teams of scientists, engineers and climate change experts who assisted Brazil with the technical know-how needed to initiate and sustain this effort.

For example, UNDP worked with Whirlpool, Brazil’s largest appliance maker, in developing and manufacturing new, CFC-free refrigerators. UNDP also added Whirlpool through the complicated process of applying for international funds to make this happen.

UNDP has also been involved in the safe, and environmentally-friendly, disposal of old refrigerators. Working with the Ministry of Environment, UNDP trained and equipped staff in dismantling shops across 26 states, allowing them to safely remove dangerous CFC gasses from the refrigerator compressors. UNDP is currently working with different private sector partners to seek out sources of finance that will allow for the final disposal of CFCs in a green, but also economically sustainable, manner.