Take a deep dive into the illegal trade in climate-harming gases with our Global Crime Tracker

Refrigerant gases have now been added to EIA’s first-of-its-kind Global Environmental Crime Tracker.

The tracker allows users to analyse and learn more about the biggest eco-crime no-one has heard of.

EIA has 30 years of experience investigating and exposing the illegal trade in environmentally damaging refrigerant gases. Following the Montreal Protocol’s phase-out of ozone-depleting substances, an illegal trade in these chemicals emerged in the 1990s, undermining efforts to repair the hole in the ozone layer.


Three decades later, we are now seeing a surge of illicit trade in climate-wrecking hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HFCs were introduced as replacements to their ozone-destroying predecessors but are now being phased down in efforts to combat climate change, with the European Union’s F-Gas Regulation an example of early action.

EIA estimates that the potential climate impact of this illegal trade in the EU could amount to the greenhouse gas emissions of more than 6.5 million cars being driven for a year. Further information on this chilling crime can be found in our reports Europe’s Most Chilling Crime and Doors Wide Open.

Low risks and high profits make the illegal refrigerant trade attractive to criminal networks, yet it is often not a priority for enforcement agencies and penalties are usually minor for a crime that nevertheless costs governments and legitimate businesses millions in lost revenue and results in significant emissions of ozone- and climate-damaging gases.

The global refrigerant seizure tracker has been developed with our Intelligence Team and contains information dating back to 2001.

Seizure data is collated from news reports, data submitted to the Montreal Protocol and direct communications with governments and enforcement authorities. The interactive dashboard and live mapping allow users to zero in on precisely the information they want, such as refrigerant type, exporting country and smuggling method.

And because we believe in sharing information to bolster awareness and enforcement efforts around the world, we’ve made the tracker free to use and accessible for everyone, from fellow environmental campaigners to journalists and the public.

We welcome further information on refrigerant gas seizures. If you have data to share, please contact sophiegeoghegan[at]eia-international.org.