Current appeal: Fight climate crime

Help us tackle the illegal trade in climate super pollutants

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Climate change is happening now

Extreme weather events are constantly in the news, from fires and floods to droughts, alongside distressing pictures of the devastating impact they’re having on both people and wildlife.

This summer, skyrocketing temperatures in the Pacific North West killed up to 500 people in British Columbia. The 40°C ‘heat dome’ also caused the death of around a billion sea creatures. Dead mussels and clams littered the beaches, their shells split open by the heat. Away from the coast, wildfires raged across the parched landscape, devouring everything in their path.

As the world heads for a temperature rise above 3°C this century, far beyond the globally agreed target of 1.5°C, the climate emergency is all too real. But what can we do about it?

Adding our voice in Glasgow

In November this year, the UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 26) will take place in Glasgow. EIA will be there, as almost every country in the world joins together to avoid catastrophic climate change. Many believe that this is our last, best chance to stop calamitous temperature rises, increasingly extreme weather events and other changes that could be irreversible for millennia.

Acting now to protect our planet

Our work on HFCs has the potential to make an immediate impact. By acting now, we could avoid half a degree of warming by the end of the century.

There’s no time to lose. That’s why we’re tackling climate super pollutants as a fast, cost-effective way to slow down climate change.

Super pollutants include hydrofluorocarbons, known as HFCs. HFCs are cooling gases, commonly used in commercial fridges and air-conditioning systems. They’re called super pollutants because a tonne of HFCs can be thousands of times more harmful to the climate than a tonne of carbon dioxide.

The supply of these gases is now being restricted, particularly in Europe, which has taken the lead globally on this issue. But as legitimate supplies shrink, climate criminals are stepping in.

The soaring illegal trade in HFCs is the biggest eco-crime no one’s ever heard of. This needs to change – fast. But we’re optimistic that it can be done.

Exposing a hazardous black market trade

Thanks to our generous donors, we’ve been able to carry out extensive investigations into the HFC trade. We’ve discovered the methods used to smuggle the gases into Europe and have identified some of the key companies and criminals involved.

We focused on Romania, a major entry point into the EU, where our undercover investigators posed as middlemen seeking to source the illegal gases for clients in Western Europe.

Our investigation revealed two key smuggling routes into Romania: one directly from neighbouring Ukraine, and one from Turkey via Bulgaria. We learned of common practices such as bribing border guards and saw evidence of organised criminal involvement.

In total, EIA investigators were offered 17.5 tonnes of suspected illegal HFCs, with a global warming impact equivalent to 31,255 tonnes of CO2.

With your help, we can do this

In 2016, we secured a huge victory when the world signed an international agreement to phase out these harmful pollutants and replace them with more sustainable alternatives. But we need to keep up the pressure.

Right now, we’re lobbying to dramatically speed up cuts to super pollutants such as HFCs. It’s been a long road, but our track record makes us confident that positive change is both possible and achievable.

Making a stink about methane

We're launching a new project to tackle methane emissions from the oil and gas industry.

Methane is another climate super pollutant, and fossil fuel companies are releasing it in vast quantities. In the longer term, we need to shut down this industry altogether, but in the meantime, we need tough rules right now to force these companies to deal with appalling levels of leakage, “venting” and “flaring” from their equipment.

Venting and flaring are the practices of releasing methane into the atmosphere, or burning it off, to relieve pressure in the system or simply get rid of gas that companies don’t think it’s worth collecting.

Methane is responsible for 25% of global warming so far. It’s outrageous that the fossil fuel industry is getting away with this behaviour. By supporting us, you will enable us to push for strong new regulations on methane emissions from the oil, gas and coal industries.

Wildlife at risk

Any donation you are able to give today will help us fight climate change and help protect the wildlife that are suffering from rising temperatures and loss of their habitat.

Climate change poses a risk to almost all species, but some are already feeling its devastating impacts.

It’s harder for puffins to feed their chicks, as hotter seas drive fish into deeper, cooler water further from the coast.

Moose rely on the cold to kill parasites. Warmer winters mean that adults and vulnerable calves are covered in thousands of blood-sucking ticks, and many die as a result.

Sea turtles bury their eggs on beaches. If the sand gets too hot, the eggs don’t hatch at all.

Our planet needs you

Please support us today so we can take action on super pollutants and tackle climate and wildlife crime. Your donation will help us to continue:

  • Carrying out our undercover investigations
  • Campaigning for better regulations and more severe penalties
  • Lobbying for global action at United Nations meetings.

The illegal trade in HFCs is a crime against nature, against people and against the planet. Please help us crack down on climate crime and slow global warming.

Please donate today to help us fight the illegal trade in HFCs and protect our planet for future generations. Thank you.

Clare Perry, EIA Climate Campaign Leader.