Following EIA’s call to cease irresponsible operations and subsequent mounting press pressure, the American chemical giant, the Chemours company released a new statement on their climate goals yesterday.
Given the fact that Chemours has failed to honor its past announcements, we sincerely hope this time the company will actually address the massively high emissions from its operations, including and especially HFC-23. Last month, following inquiries, Chemours released a statement announcing a project to reduce emissions of one of the most potent and destructive climate pollutants, HFC-23, by the end of 2022, more than five years after a nearly identical commitment the company made to “control, and to the extent feasible, eliminate by-product emissions of HFC-23” at their production facilities worldwide. Since the 2015 announcement, Chemours has been by far the largest HFC-23 polluter in the country according to their self-reported emissions data to EPA.
HFC-23 has a climate impact more than 12,000 times that of carbon dioxide. Chemours’ March, 2021 statement which laid out basic steps to address HFC-23 emissions, in contrast to globally implemented best practices, further demonstrates the company’s unfulfilled promises. For the past decade, the Chemours facility in Louisville, KY, emitted anywhere from 2.7 to 5.15 million metric tonnes of CO2e each year in the co-production of HCFC-22 and HFC-23. We continue to call on Chemours to shut down its operations immediately if it is unable or unwilling to control and contain its own chemical waste.
The Chemours company was spun-off from DuPont in 2015 and is one of the largest global producers of HFCs. The company had committed in 2015 to reduce emissions in its products sold by 300 million tons CO2e by 2025, a pledge missing in the newly announced emission targets. It is a missed opportunity for Chemours to have neglected scope 3 emissions at this point, given their products have contributed immensely to ozone depletion and climate change over the last century. Chemours should immediately make progress toward transparently disclosing the total climate impacts of its ongoing supply of synthetic greenhouse gases onto the global market. Additionally, given the combined history of production and emissions of CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs as DuPont and then Chemours, they have a duty to make restitution for the damage inflicted on our ozone layer and climate. EIA has additionally called for Chemours to restore the damage they have done by taking responsibility for the lifecycle climate impacts of their chemicals from cradle to grave. Recovery, reclaim, and destruction of all HFC refrigerants presents the opportunity to prevent nearly 100 billion tons of CO2e emissions by 2050.
Chemours’ latest announcement is grossly inadequate. In light of upcoming regulations, waiting until the end of 2022 to address HFC-23 emissions is both a failure to meet their moral obligation for their historical impact on our ozone and climate as well as a failure to meet their own inadequate commitments. It is past time for this chemical giant to move beyond new promises and unkept old ones and to undertake immediate concrete action – which we are anxiously awaiting.