HFCs are potent greenhouse gases, the use of which is growing rapidly. They are used as replacements for ozone-depleting substances (CFCs and HCFCs) in refrigerators, air conditioners and insulation materials. RIVM assesses their contribution to the greenhouse effect, both now and for the future. RIVM also advises several governments on HFC emission reduction measures. RIVM conducts research in collaboration with various American institutes.

The contribution of HFC to the greenhouse effect is currently limited, less than 1 percent of that of CO2. An RIVM study shows that the contribution of HFCs to the greenhouse effect could increase to 10 percent in 2050 if the use of HFCs worldwide continues to grow at the current rate. HFC emissions are expected to rise particularly in countries with emerging economies such as China, India, and other Asian countries.

Without reductions in HFC use, approximately 50 percent of the emissions will be due to refrigerators and approximately 30 percent will be due to air conditioners in 2050. In October 2016, all countries of the United Nations have agreed to include HFCs in the Montreal Protocol and strongly limit their use in the coming decades.

Guus Velders in TIME 100

(A large office building. A man walks inside. Voice-over:)


VOICE-OVER: Professor Guus Velders
of the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment,
better known as RIVM, is on Time's list of the 100 most influential people on Earth.
Velders showed that hydrofluorocarbons are major contributors to climate change.
These compounds are used in refrigerators, air conditioners and insulation materials.
PROFESSOR VELDERS: I'm greatly honoured to be put on the Time 100 list.
I also see this as a recognition for the importance of climate change.
But much more needs to be done to protect future generations
from the adverse effects of climate change.
VOICE-OVER: Based on this research,
world leaders entered into an agreement in 2016,
with the aim of greatly reducing the emissions of hydrofluorocarbons.
This will limit global warming by a maximum of 0.5°C by the year 2100.

(A graph shows the evolution.)

Velders was already chosen
as one of the most influential scientists by Nature magazine in 2016.
This year, RIVM Director General André van der Zande
awarded him the RIVM Jenner Medal for his breakthrough scientific research.
And Velders has just been appointed
Professor by Special Appointment at Utrecht University.
In the coming years, Guus Velders will be working together with his colleagues
to further strengthen the scientific basis behind climate policy.
He will ensure that the data and computing infrastructure at RIVM
is suitable for monitoring the Paris climate agreement.
To protect the climate, all the countries of the United Nations
reached an agreement in 2015 in Paris.
To meet the goals of the agreement,
national governments, companies and cities have to take action.
And RIVM wants to assist them by giving information, tools and knowledge
on how they can reach their goals.
VOICE-OVER: Velders is also carrying out research into the impact of climate change
and climate measures on air quality, and vice versa.
VELDERS: One of the important causes of climate change
is small particles in the air.
Those particles are also bad for your health, through air pollution.
We want to know which particles are bad for your health and bad for climate change,
and especially which measures we can take
to reduce the effects of climate change and of air pollution.
VOICE-OVER: RIVM is very proud of the international recognition
of Professor Velders' exceptional achievements
and of his contribution to a more sustainable world.

(The Dutch coat of arms, next to: National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport. The screen turns red and white. On-screen text: More information? www.rivm.nl/hfc. www.time.com/time100. A production of RIVM. Copyright 2017. Committed to health and sustainability.)