A/C units

Heating and cooling systems produce a huge amount of carbon pollution, and most are manufactured by a small number of big companies.

Scott Tew is with Ingersoll Rand. It’s the parent company of Trane, which makes HVAC systems, and Thermo King, which makes refrigerator trucks.

He says the company is determined to make its products better for the climate. It’s set a goal of reducing its customers’ carbon footprint by one gigaton by 2030.

“That would be the equivalent of the annual emissions of the U.K., Italy, and France combined,” Tew says.

The need to improve efficiency in this sector is particularly important as the climate warms and the global demand for cooling grows. And research shows that large scale change is possible.

According to a report by the Rocky Mountain Institute, air conditioning manufacturers could dramatically reduce their products’ climate impact by investing in more efficient technology and cleaner refrigerants.

So together, large manufacturers have the power to substantially reduce global carbon pollution.

“I think it’s really important for companies like ours to commit ourselves and then challenge others,” says Tew.

If many manufacturers make similarly ambitious commitments, he says, “You can imagine this is a true step change in terms of climate impact.”

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media.