Undercover Investigation Reveals Supermarkets Are Destroying the Climate


Dharna Noor, Gizmodo

Feb 16, 2021


The world抯 food system is a major source of greenhouse gas pollution, from the emissions caused by farming and ranching to those released by the planes, trains, and trucks used to transport groceries. A new report shows the freezer aisle in the grocery store could also be an even bigger source of pollution than we thought.


Most cooling technology emits greenhouse gases called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have thousands of times more heating potential than carbon dioxide. Environmental Investigation Agency, an environmental advocacy nonprofit, conducted an undercover study using industry-standard leak sensors to detect HFC emissions at 45 big-box chain supermarkets in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. The group also used an infrared camera to make the illicit leaks visible to the human eye. (You can check out this video to see an example from a Giant grocery store.) The investigation focused mostly on Walmart because is the largest retailer in the U.S., but also examined other chains, including ALDI, Safeway, Trader Joe抯 and Whole Foods.


The authors found that more than half of the stores they surveyed were emitting HFCs. Of the 20 Walmarts the investigators visited, they detected HFC pollution at 60% of them. They documented leaks at 55% of the other supermarkets they visited, 揷onsistent with concerns that refrigerant leaks are an industry-wide problem,?the report says...


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