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From global to local : expertise and the definition of solutions in the UK refrigeration industry.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

  • Martin Purvis
  • Jane Hunt
  • Frances Drake
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2001
Issue number2
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)143-156
<mark>Original language</mark>English


The paper relates the ‘global’ to the ‘local’ through examination of the impacts of recent concerns regarding global atmospheric change (stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change) upon thinking and practices within sections of the British refrigeration industry. Complementing political studies of the effects of international agreements to curb the production and emission of gases implicated in atmospheric change, attention is paid to the attitudes and understandings of individual managers and owners responsible for decision-making within the industry. Information derived from the trade press and interviews with managers reveals important areas of uncertainty and dispute. This has implications for the ecological modernisation thesis, which views commercial innovation as a means to secure effective technical solutions to environmental problems. Currently, within refrigeration, no single technology unambiguously satisfies the full range of performance and environmental criteria. Not only are the attributes of particular technologies debated, but the environmental criteria on which performance is judged are also disputed, reflecting different constructions of the relative importance of ozone depletion, direct global warming impact, energy efficiency and indirect warming impact. Yet individual businesses do not, and cannot, have a rational and environmentally informed basis on which to judge the trade-offs which they are forced to make.