What awaits those who uses R-22 and other ozone-depleting substances?
The ancient Maya tracked their calendar to 2012 and then stopped without saying a word to the future generations what will happen after. So, just a while ago the whole world—horror struck or grinning—was waiting for the doomsday which, fortunately, did not come.
The Russian HCFC phase out calendar, or schedule, has its own fatal hour, January 1, 2020. Unlike the Maya’s, our schedule does not break off, so we can be confident about the future of those intending to use R-22 and other hydrofluorocarbons after that day. Well, their future is not more cheerful.
What will happen in 2020?
As a Article 2 country under the Montreal protocol, the Russian Federation adheres to the ozone-depleting substance phase-out schedule for developed countries. With account of the so called Montreal adjustment to the protocol, in years 2020–2030 the annual production and consumption of HCFC will be equal to 0.5% of the baseline, and this amount may be used only for servicing the equipment produced by 31.12.2019.
Today, the allowable HCFC amount for Russia is 399.68 ODP tons per year. On 01.01.2010 it will be 20 times smaller, 19.98 ODP tons. To simplify matters, we could take all HCFC to be R-22, then since 2020 only up to 363.3 metric tons will be available for end-users.
What hides behind this twenty-fold reduction of the refrigerant amount? The first to come to mind, is the less goods we have on the market, the more valuable and, accordingly, expensive they are. It seems those who remained committed to R-22 to the utmost trying to avoid spending on more expensive ozone-safe synthetic refrigerants or modifying refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment for use of natural refrigerants will have to come down with money.
In fact, the situation is so much worse. 363 tons of a refrigerant for a country as large as Russia is way too little. Ordinary companies using air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment will most likely get no quotas since all the HCFC will be used for servicing special-purpose systems.
What if you can’t help but want too much?
Under shortage, one can gasp for going beyond the limitations. Like trying to obtain and use R-22 intended for production of polytetrafluorethylene, or teflon: HCFC for production of other substances are not subject to the Montreal protocol. Or purchase ozone-depleting substances in countries with softer phase-out schedules and state authorities do not struggle fiercely against environmentally questionable production.
Do not give in to temptation. Why? If using HCFC which pose a threat to the ozone layer making life of future generations much harder does not persuades you, then think about possible penalties.
Article 8.2 of the Code of the Russian Federation on Administrative Offenses provides for fine for disregard of environmental and sanitary-epidemiological requirements when using ozone-depleting substances: 1,000–2,000 rubles for civilians, 10,000–30,000 rubles for officials. Legal entities and sole traders will be set a penalty of 100,000–250,000 and 30,000–50.000 Rubles respectively or imposed administrative suspension of activity for up to 90 days.
Ozone-depleting substances and products containing them are in the list of strategically important goods and resources, so if you smuggle a lot of them, then Article 226.1 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation is applied stipulating meaningful terms (up to 12 years in case of conspiracy) and millions of rubles in penalties.
Where is the way out?
It is obvious: waste no time to conversion to ozone-safe refrigerants. You are already behind time if still using R-22 and other HCFCs. And since HFCs with high global warming potential are already covered by the Montreal protocol, your best choice are natural refrigerants with minimum greenhouse effect and safe for the ozone layer.