Should the properties of these or those cooling agents (coolants, refrigerants, Freons) be of interest only for the narrow circle of specialists, who work with refrigerating equipment? On the one hand, an ordinary consumer hardly will be interested in chemical composition of contents of his purchase. On the other hand, equipment with "improper" coolant may become an unpleasant surprise for any owner. Undoubtedly, refrigerating agent must be characterized by high reliability and cooling capacity, low price, low power consumption, and they must be safe and complying with sanitary standards; however, it is very difficult to provide such combination of factors. Thus, relationship between a refrigerating agent and the problem of the ozone layer above our planet was added to the above-listed characteristics in 1989.
The first international document, which posed the problem of conservation of the Earth's ozone layer, was Vienna Convention of 1985. Countries that signed that document did not enter into any commitments since the document just outlined the panhuman problem that should be solved as soon as possible. Two years later, in 1987, the international community adopted the Montreal Protocol. According to its provisions, chlorine and bromine atoms were blamed for ozone layer destruction. The main guilt was assigned to chlorofluorocarbons used as atomizers in aerosols, and also to coolants, which at that point were used in the majority of equipment, refrigerating units and air conditioners. Despite protests of competent scientists, who pointed out inadequate scientific validity of provisions of the forthcoming agreement, Montreal Protocol was adopted and, recently, supplemented with a number of amendments that made the conditions of termination of ozone-destructing substances production and consumption more stringent.
The most rigorous critics declare that the Protocol is a gigantic fraud initiated by a group of chemical corporations for monopolizing the market and forcing out national manufacturers; more moderate critics say that some statements are questionable and call for amending the Protocol with regard for the time that has passed. Of cause, it is difficult to deny that the companies having actual monopoly for production of equipment for synthesis of R-134а refrigerating medium, which was declared to be "the only adequate alternative" to ozone-destructing substances, received an unprecedented profit after implementation of legislative restrictions for R-12. However, even so, they fell in their own trap – the unleashed hunt for ecological harmful substances turned out against R-134а as well. Today, we can see that European Community introduces increasingly strict laws against this refrigerating medium.
Signing of Montreal Protocol was accompanied by a massive PR campaign. Problems of global changes due to emergence of the ozone hole became the subject of political speculations. Note that a similar situation is formed now in connection with Kyoto Protocol, dedicated to the issues of global warming on the planet.
Today, situation in the world is such that recovery of the ozone layer above the Antarctic that is fast-pacing recently due to reduction of production and consumption of ozone-destructing substances has an ambiguous long-term effect. The notorious ozone hole, being one of the most apparent examples of human "negative impact" on the nature, braked global warming according to scientists. Now this brake has been released. Therefore, toughening of ecological requirements, which were affirmed by international agreements, may not only aggravate the situation with global warming, when proven products are thrown out from the market, but also open the way for poorly studied refrigerating agent (or mixtures) that can turn out to be more dangerous in practice.