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Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are man-made greenhouse gases that are used as replacements to ozone depleting substances (ODS) in a variety of commonplace applications such as refrigeration and air conditioning. These chemicals have global warming potentials (GWPs) that are approximately 100 to 4,500 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2). Although HFCs currently represent a small portion of total greenhouse gases (i.e., less than one percent), their emissions are rapidly increasing in response to the continued phaseout of ODS and the increasing demand for products that have traditionally relied on ODS, particularly in developing nations. Left unabated, emissions of HFCs are projected to increase nearly twentyfold in the next three decades.
This online interactive application (available in English, French and Spanish) illustrates where HFCs are commonly used and where lower GWP substances and alternative technologies are readily available.