The 2012 Refrigerants Conference, jointly organized by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and NIST, focused on low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerant technologies and practices that can be used to accommodate high-GWP refrigerants phase-down. Continuing concerns about the climate change have already led to some regulatory measures limiting the use of high-GWP refrigerants in individual countries.

In conjunction with the Refrigerants Conference, NIST hosted two international committee meetings. The Refrigeration, Air-Conditioning and Heat Pumps Technical Option Committee of the United Nations Environmental Programme met before the conference. The group formulates refrigeration technology assessments that are used by United Nations and government policy makers worldwide. The Working Party on Life Cycle Climate Performance of Refrigerants of the International Institute of Refrigeration met after the conference. This group is developing a standard methodology for evaluating the climate change impact of refrigerants using a holistic analysis, which includes both direct and indirect emissions.