Private Governance Response to Climate Change: The Case of Refrigerants


13 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2019

See all articles by Michael P. Vandenbergh

Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Shannon Vreeland

Vanderbilt University

Ted Atwood


Date Written: February 19, 2019


Refrigerants are promising targets for private environmental governance initiatives. An unintended consequence of the 1987 Montreal Protocol was to increase demand for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are potent greenhouse gases. Global demand for air conditioning units and other refrigerant-using equipment is expected to increase steeply over the next several decades. HFC use is projected to increase as much as 20-fold by 2050, adding up to .1 degree Celsius of global average temperature rise. Government initiatives have targeted refrigerants at the international, national, and subnational levels, but given the limited prospects for major new government action in the near term, this article focuses on how private governance initiatives can fill the gap. Private initiatives are a promising option because refrigerant loss is often costly to corporations, universities, hospitals, and households, and private initiatives can harness a range of motivations to reduce refrigerant emissions even without the coercive force and resources of government.

Keywords: climate change, refrigerants, private governance, environment

Suggested Citation

Vandenbergh, Michael P. and Vreeland, Shannon and Atwood, Ted, Private Governance Response to Climate Change: The Case of Refrigerants (February 19, 2019). 34 NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Michael P. Vandenbergh (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Shannon Vreeland

Vanderbilt University

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

Ted Atwood


501 Union St
Nashville, TN 37219
United States

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