This article explores the possible environmental threats older air conditioning units posed. When air conditioning units were first released to the public, they used chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as the main refrigerants in most air conditioning units. However, as time went on, scientists discovered that CFCs were dangerous to the ozone layer. As soon as these revelations came to light, public pressure caused air conditioning companies to find a new refrigerant. In 1985 the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer was held, and 20 nations signed an agreement to limit the negative effects of CFCS. Also in 1985, a hole in the Ozone Layer was discovered. With all of this going on, the US congress made changes to the Clear Air Act. These changes included a timeline for when CFCs were to be phased out. The Environmental Protection Agency also created restrictions surrounding the use of refrigerants. The effort to find a new type of refrigerant was very expensive and difficult, and the air conditioning industry encountered new problems when the deadline of when to be completely done with CFCs was moved up. Despite all this, by the time the 90s rolled around, safer and better air conditioning units were available for purchase.
This article highlights the problems that arose when modern air conditioning became common place. Some questions this article raises are what was the case before we had said units. Was the environment better off? Or did we have other practices that also posed some sort of environmental threat? And what about today? Despite having gotten rid of CFCs, is there any else modern day air conditioning is doing wrong?