Harmful SUVs, microplastics and R-410A

According to a study by the British organisation Possible, a new SUV model purchased in 2023 emits more CO₂ per kilometre than a car with a conventional engine bought in 2013. The increase in the popularity of SUVs is reversing progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from new vehicles. The study also challenged the belief that low-income drivers drive high-emission cars. Its results show that the probability of owning a car with very high emissions is 81% higher for the wealthiest households.

Scientists are sounding the alarm – the refrigerant used in air conditioning systems under the industrial name R-410A retains 2,088 times more heat in the atmosphere than CO₂. That gas is released into the atmosphere, among others, by leaky air conditioning in homes, cars and supermarkets. On average, all cars leak approximately 25% of refrigerant every year. In the USA alone, nearly 45 million kg of gas are released into the atmosphere annually. A potential solution to the problem will be to develop a solid refrigerant instead of a gas one, which experts at Harvard University are currently working on.

The European Commission has adopted measures to combat microplastic pollution. The sale of microplastics and products to which they have been intentionally added will be banned within the EU. The ban covers all synthetic polymer particles smaller than five millimetres that are organic, insoluble and resistant to degradation and will affect cosmetics, glitter, toys, detergents, artificial sports surfaces, fertilisers, plant protection products, medicines and medical devices.

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