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EIA urges EC to stand firm against pro-HFC lobby

Reacts to European Commission’s draft proposals for review of EU F-Gas Regulation

| | Nov 15, 2012 | 4:50 pm
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Reacts to European Commission’s draft proposals for review of EU F-Gas Regulation

Leaked documents from the European Commission’s review of the EU F-Gas Regulation has revealed a much-needed shake-up in the way Europe regulates hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), powerful global warming gases hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2).

Sharing this information in a news release, the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), claimed that the proposed new HFC regulation would help stimulate Europe’s green economy by banning HFCs in large commercial and industrial refrigeration systems.

According to EIA, other sectors highlighted as suitable candidates for bans by a previous Commission-funded study are omitted – including stationary air conditioning, foams and fire suppression. These sectors are covered by an economy-wide phase-down, which intends to gradually reduce HFC consumption to 21% of current levels by 2030, the agency added.

However, EIA said that it questioned the ambition of the phase-down and the lack of clear market signals for companies providing climate-friendly alternatives in the growing sector of air conditioning.

“We welcome the draft proposal as a step in the right direction, but it clearly doesn’t go far enough and could easily be seriously diluted if the lobbyists currently working behind the scenes for the HFC industry get their way,” said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry. “The Commission’s own analysis shows that most sectors can ban HFCs in new equipment by 2020 or earlier, and there is, therefore, no reason not to propose bans in all these sectors. There are many more low-hanging fruits to be picked.”

The news release further revealed that while NGOs and companies producing HFC-free alternatives are backing sectoral bans, the HFC industry, as represented by the European Partnership for Energy and Environment (EPEE), has made clear its opposition to any bans – not surprisingly, it prefers a gradual phase-down that will allow the flexibility for industry to continue marketing and profiting from HFCs.

In this context, EIA Campaigner, Alasdair Cameron said: “EPEE is an organisation dominated by producers of HFC-based equipment and HFCs themselves and it will hardly favour banning HFCs. To paraphrase Einstein, the problems we face in the F-Gas Regulation will not be solved by the same minds that created them. This revision is a chance to make up for lost ambition, and the only way to do that is to ban these super greenhouse gases when no longer needed. We are looking to the Commission to stand firm against the scaremongering of the HFC industry and its lobbyists, not cave into it as the world watches.”

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