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The facts on carbon pricing and refrigerants

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THE HON GREG COMBET AM MP Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister for Industry and Innovation


GC 158/12 26 June 2012


Opposition frontbencher Sophie Mirabella has been caught out once again making inflated claims about the impact of the carbon price.

Ms Mirabella asserts that the carbon price will quadruple the price of a common refrigerant gas. She’s not just wrong, she’s way off.

The refrigerant gas Ms Mirabella refers to, R404A, makes up less than 10 per cent of the refrigerants used in Australia.

This particular refrigerant gas attracts an equivalent carbon price of around $75 per kilogram - which is less than a quarter of the increase cited by the Member for Indi.

Synthetic greenhouse gases, which are used in many refrigerators, are often thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide in their impact on global warming.

R404A has a global warming potential over 3000 times more potent than carbon dioxide - that is why its price will rise under a carbon price. Many other refrigerant gases are much less potent.

The Gillard Government is introducing an equivalent carbon price on these gases to encourage the take up of alternatives with no, or much lower, global warming potencies. It also provides an incentive to repair refrigeration equipment, rather than let these gases leak into the atmosphere.

This is being done through the regulatory regime which the Howard Government established for synthetic greenhouse gases in 2003.

The refrigerant industry is a competitive one. The Government encourages Australians to shop around for a better deal and not accept questionable price increases peddled by the Opposition to promote their fear campaign.

The impact of an equivalent carbon price on the most potent synthetic greenhouse gases was fully factored into the Government’s Household Assistance package. The impact on households is expected to be minimal, as the amount of these gases in consumer products is generally small. For example, the price of a domestic refrigerator would increase by around $4.

I’d suggest the refrigerant industry ignore Ms Mirabella’s outrageous pricing advice.

Media contacts: Mark Davis, Gia Hayne 02 6277 7920