Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner today announced his call for Walmart to reduce its usage of super pollutants in order to further the fight against climate change. The Treasurer, along with Pennsylvania State Treasurer Joe Torsella, submitted a shareholder proposal asking the company to address its use and mitigation of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the potent climate-changing gases used in air conditioners and refrigerators, which have 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
"The ongoing effects of global climate change, including the financial impacts, are significant," said Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. "In order to be sustainable over the long-term, companies – especially those as big as Walmart – must acknowledge and limit their carbon impact. We are calling on Walmart to immediately share with investors plans to reduce the amount of the super-pollutant hydrofluorocarbon used by the company, and to lay out plans to transition to cost- and energy-efficient alternatives."
Research suggests one of the most important steps to reduce climate change is management and proper disposal of refrigerants already in use. It is estimated that in the U.S. alone, emissions from retired HFC refrigerants account for 75-80 million metric tons of pollution annually, the equivalent of the emissions from 16 million cars.
An estimated 90% of greenhouse gas emissions from refrigerants, including hydrofluorocarbons, comes from end-of-life leaking. Federal legislation passed at the end of 2020 calls for an 85% cut in hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) production over the next 15 years.
"State, federal and corporate leaders have a grave responsibility to ensure a safe environment for today and for every tomorrow," said Pennsylvania State Treasurer Torsella. "It is nothing less than egregious to sit idly by and ignore factual science that provides clear evidence of super pollutants' ability to exacerbate the negative impact of climate change. As treasurer and steward of taxpayer dollars, it is my duty to fight for the best long-term outcomes of our investments, and in this case, it means demanding action to preserve a vital future for our planet."
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