Yale Undergrad Tackles Hydrofluorocarbons to Save the Climate, Rise to Resilience, The Disharmony Podcast

by | Jul 12, 2022 | Climate Convos, Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Yale undergrad tackles hydrofluorocarbons to save the climate, plus Rise to Resilience, and the Disharmony Podcast.



Disharmony is a series exploring the relationship between music and the climate crisis. Each episode features musicians, authors, and organizations discussing and displaying more about how music is responding to climate change. It’s produced by WFUV, public radio from Fordham University in New York City. And thus far, six episodes have dropped. Averaging about 28 minutes per, they are an easy and informative listen.

My favorite thus far is episode 2: That one features multilingual jazz group, the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, also James Sullivan, author of Which Side Are You On?: 20th Century American History in 100 Protest Songs. They talk about protest music and why it’s so important to the climate movement. Why does this podcast matter to us? Climate change affects everything, including culture. And culture changes sometimes help us deal with reality better.

The Disharmony podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, at least. Peruse Apple podcasts, or click on the link in the Deeper Dive section of this story at theclimate.org/episodes to find out more. Here’s hoping WFUV produces even more Disharmony!

DEEPER DIVE: Disharmony



Last week, The Climate Daily reported on New York City’s Waterfront Alliance. One of its initiatives was the creation of an organization called Rise to Resilience. Rise to Resilience is a campaign and coalition to make building climate resilience an urgent priority. More than 100 organizations representing residents, leaders in business, labor community and justice, volunteer organizations, scientists, environmental advocates, and design professionals joined the coalition. 

Its inception was based on the belief that improving the health of the region’s people and environment, means having clear leadership, approaching the problem holistically, and funding and financing community- and science-based solutions in a way that is transparent, prioritizing equity and justice in everything the group undertakes to achieve. 

The Rise to Resilience campaign involves establishing reliable, robust long-term sources of funding for flood resilience and green, well-paying jobs; leverage investments toward integrated flood protection, ecosystem restoration, and workforce development that builds a resilient future for the bi-state communities. 

Why does Rise to Resilience matter to us not living in New York or New Jersey? One key goal of the group is creating environmental justice by improving the resilience of public and private housing developments and infrastructure while building new high quality public and affordable housing on higher ground. Passing enforceable flood risk disclosure laws to help us plan for our futures and build awareness about risk because the R2R team believes it’s everybody’s right to know.

Another key initiative is investing and planning for ecological resilience, monitoring, and restoration so that communities, wildlife, and ecosystems are healthy for future generations. And did I mention prioritizing natural and nature-based solutions to climate change and sea-level rise, especially those that restore floodplains and ecosystems? 

DEEPER DIVE: R2R, R2R Presser, Gotham Gazette



Did you know that your refrigerator could be killing the climate? Yup. Turns out the refrigerant used in some fridges contains hydrofluorocarbons that are thousands of times more potent GHGs compared to CO2.

(I thought CFCs were outlawed or banned after we patched the Ozone Hole.)

Okay, so CFCs are chlorofluorocarbons, and yes, under the Montreal Protocol of 1987, all CFCs were banned beginning in 1989, in order to stop depletion of the Earth’s Ozone layer. Hydrofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, are still legal, although they are set to be fully phased out of production by 2045 or 2047.

Yale University junior, Tilden Chao decided to take information he read in Project Drawdown seriously as a high schooler. The project contains a list of 100 climate change solutions. Number one on the list is “refrigerant management.” For example, R-134a, a commonly used HFC refrigerant, is 1,430 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

So instead of rowing crew, or playing ultimate frisbee when he got to Yale, Chao founded the Yale Refrigerants Initiative. His first mission was to catalog refrigerant leaks in the mini-fridges in the Yale dormitories. Why does Tilden Chao matter to all of us? Because refrigerators aren’t the only pieces of equipment using HFCs and HCFCs. They’re used in large refrigeration units, HVAC chillers and heat pumps, too.

Said Chao in an interview with Yale Sustainability, “The harsh reality of climate change is that the very chemicals that will help billions of people adapt to extreme heat are themselves driving the climate crisis. We need to be prepared to manage a steadily growing bank of these damaging refrigerant gasses.” 

Chao won a $25,000 grant from Yale’s Office of Facilities’ Student Green Innovation Fund to fund the Yale Refrigerants Initiative. That fund awards student projects that can measurably reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

DEEPER DIVE: Yale Sustainability, Yale Refrigerants Initiative, Project Drawdown, Yale Earthweek