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EU agrees to partial ban on F-gases

Beginning of the end for climate-changing HFCs says EIA

| | Dec 17, 2013 | 8:53 pm
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Beginning of the end for climate-changing HFCs says EIA

The European Union has struck a tentative deal to partially ban the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – a group of super greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning. Announcing this, The UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said that the review of the EU F-Gas Regulation will cap the amount of HFCs which can be placed on the European market and will gradually reduce it over time. By 2030, the volume of HFCs on the market is expected to be cut to 21% of present levels, the EIA added.

According to the EIA, the EU has also agreed to ban the use of HFCs in new equipment in a number of sectors, most notably commercial refrigeration by 2022.  In addition, from 2020 very high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs (over 2,500 times more potent that CO2) will no longer be used to service and maintain refrigeration equipment, the EIA confirmed.

While the EIA and Brussels-based European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomed the move, which happened on December 16, as a progressive and encouraging victory in the fight against climate change, despite disappointment that extensive negotiations had failed to agree earlier and stronger bans.

Commenting on it, Clare Perry, Head of EIA’s Global Environment Campaign, said: “Naturally, we would prefer more bans with fewer loopholes as these are the most effective method of preventing greenhouse gas emissions and there is overwhelming evidence that they would be feasible and cost-efficient. Nevertheless, this is the beginning of the end for HFCs in Europe….”

Susanna Williams, Climate and Energy Policy Officer at the EEB, added: “It is regrettable that certain countries were unwilling to listen to the best evidence available and instead chose to side with the interests of the chemical industry and HFC equipment manufacturers. Despite this, we are pleased that legislators agreed bans in some key areas that will boost low-carbon innovation in Europe. The immediate focus now will be on the effective implementation of the legislation.”

The draft legislation now has to be approved by Member State Representatives and then formally approved by the European Parliament and Council, before being adopted in early 2014, the EIA informed.

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