How can GWP be negative?
Global Warming Potential (GWP) refers to the molecule per molecule climate-impact comparison of any greenhouse gas to carbon dioxide. It’s a useful shorthand to analyze the impact of pollutants over time and helps us set achievable targets and quantify emission reductions. In short, it’s the primary building block of all climate action.
Low GWP refrigerants
Natural refrigerants refer to the use of gases that naturally occur in nature. Through synthetic manufacturing processes, we can create these natural gases and use them to replace high-climate impact refrigerants, like fluorinated gases.
The 100-year global warming potential of ammonia, for example, is 0. This means that it doesn’t add to the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. In fact, ammonia is a common naturally occurring compound and is immediately recycled when it's released into the atmosphere.
Global warming potential can be negative when the gas released has a beneficial effect on the atmosphere. Some studies suggest that the cooling effect of some aerosols may outweigh their warming effects. In this case, the aerosol could have a negative global warming potential.
Carbon negative ambitions
For now, the best way to measure climate action is in terms of a carbon footprint. A carbon footprint takes into account the GWP of an organization’s refrigerants, as well as its electrical consumption, fuel use, agriculture practices, and more.
An overall carbon footprint can become negative when organizations remove more carbon from the atmosphere than they produce.
The natural solution
With GWPs as small as 0, natural refrigerants represent an easy way to address a carbon footprint.