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According to the experts of the UNEP, polluting refrigerants will be released into the atmosphere on a large scale of at least 240 million tons of CO2-equivalents and intensify the climate change by the year of 2020. Still, a MAC system does not function without a refrigerant. In all MAC systems the chemical R134a (Tetrafluoroethane) is used since years. R134a is jointly responsible for the climate change and belongs to the fluorinated greenhouse gases listed in the Kyoto-protocol, which have to be reduced. Though, the refrigerant is 1.430 as harmful as CO2. The climate harmfulness of a substance is shown by the GWP-factor (Global Warming Potential).
Depending on the type of vehicle, up to 700 grams of the refrigerant R134a are poured into an air conditioning system. At normal driving, a little amount of the refrigerant escapes permanently into the atmosphere. In addition to that, considerable amounts of R134a are released as the result of inadequate maintenance, leaking systems and accidents. The refrigerant emissions add up to additional CO2 discharges of approximately 7 grams per driven kilometer.
In 2008, the emissions of R134a released by MAC systems amounted to 2.700 tons solely in Germany according to the Environmental Agency. They launch a greenhouse gas effect adequate to 3,5 million tons of CO2-equivalents. In other words: This corresponds to the yearly CO2-emissions of the driving performance of 2 million economical vehicles in Germany.
The EU defined a limiting value for refrigerants in MAC systems in order to dam up the use of harmful agents such as R134a and to forbid them on a long-term basis. Since January of 2011, R134a must not be poured into new vehicles.