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Project Drawdown


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, AP® / College


Science, Social Studies, Chemistry, Earth and Space Sciences, Economics, Civics

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Refrigerant Management

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  • This article discusses the potential reduction in emissions that could be achieved through better management of the refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
  • Students will learn about the environmental impact of refrigerants, ways to better manage refrigerants through controlling leakages and ensuring proper end-of-life disposal, and challenges to adopting this solution.
Teaching Tips


  • The article includes a sidebar with a few ideas for what readers can do to help.
  • Students see an example of how emission reduction potentials are estimated, as the methodology for this analysis is thoroughly described.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should understand the causes of climate change and the importance of emission reduction.


  • Chemistry classes can further explore the specific properties of CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, and natural refrigerants like CO2 and NH3 to identify why they differ in global warming potential and ozone depletion.
  • Civics classes can discuss the existing international agreements around refrigerant management, such as the Montreal Protocol and the Kigali Amendment (agreement to reduce HFCs in 2016). Students can also be challenged to propose a future international agreement or country-specific regulation that would support improvements in refrigerant management.
  • Economics classes can discuss the economic challenges to implementing this solution and explore ways to overcome these challenges through incentives like carbon credits.
  • In Earth science classes, students can check out the entire list of solutions by Project Drawdown to see how this solution compares to others.
  • The article mentions the opportunity to replace high-warming refrigerants with lower-warming alternatives. Students can explore this further by reading the article on alternative refrigerants.
Scientist Notes
This is a brief overview of the effects of refrigerants on global warming and climate change. A solution to insulate or control leakages of refrigerants from existing appliances and ensure recovery, reclaiming/recycling, and destruction of refrigerants at end of life is presented along with a methodology, results, and discussion. This proposal is a great way to get students thinking about what else can be done to combat climate change, and how thinking "outside of the box" can lead to great changes. This resource is recommended for classroom use.
  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • HS-ESS3-4 Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 4: Taking Informed Action
      • D4.7.9-12 Assess options for individual and collective action to address local, regional, and global problems by engaging in self-reflection, strategy identification, and complex causal reasoning.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: Science & Technical Subjects (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9-10 texts and topics.
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