By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion
What would you do if a government-backed program proposed to implement a tax that would raise your cost for a tank of R-134a by perhaps $16-30 per pound? That’s exactly what may happen in Australia, and MACS’ partner organization VASA is gearing up to take on the national government in a battle of some significance.
VASA’s CEO (and all-around good bloke) Ken Newton explains it all in his column in the next issue of ACTION magazine. It is a situation worth watching because it could herald a shift in how governments deal with high GWP refrigerants. Here’s a brief explanation from Ken’s column:
“VASA and its counterparts in other refrigerant sectors are fighting a rearguard action against the Australian government, which has just announced that it intends to add a carbon price (read tax) based on the global warming potential of each refrigerant imported. This would place an additional per-kilo cost – estimated to be at least $32, and maybe as high as $60 – on R-134a. [kilogram = 2.2 lbs -ed.]
The move, which adds another crazy dimension to an already hugely unpopular government tax, has the potential to leave Australia’s orderly refrigerant stewardship scheme in tatters.
If the tax plan goes ahead, and prime minister Julia Gillard seems hell-bent on pushing it through as part of her sustainable future agenda, the “carbon price” is likely to unravel the award winning Refrigerant Australia recovery and safe destruction program which has been hailed as the best in the world.”
Australia’s cradle-to-grave oversight plan (“scheme”) arguably is the best in the world for preventing unwanted refrigerant release and managing recovery and destruction of contaminated refrigerant(s). For example, very accurate sales records must be kept by both shops and suppliers, and just about everyone involved with the products must pass an environmental certification—even the parts driver who just transports it from store to shop. Other than some additional paperwork, the plan is not overly burdensome on shops, and both the industry and the government liked the idea when it was adopted a few years ago.
The Australian government seems to think it’s not good enough, and we say “keep an eye on this situation.” Just because it’s not happening in the U.S. doesn’t mean somebody here won’t notice, and right now carbon reductions or offset programs are big on many agendas. Read all of Ken’s story in the next issue of ACTION magazine coming in November; it’s a good one.
When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.
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The 32nd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Convention and Trade Show will take place January 18-20, 2012 at the Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, NV.