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European Parliament ratifies partial ban on F-gases

Hailed as a significant win for the climate

| | Mar 23, 2014 | 4:39 pm
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Hailed as a significant win for the climate

The European Parliament adopted on March 12 a compromise agreement struck in December to phase-down the use of a group of super greenhouse gases known as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) or fluorinated gases (F-gases). Sharing this news in an official communiqué, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) welcomed the move as a significant step forwards for the climate.

Underscoring that F-gases are widely used in refrigeration, air conditioning, fire protection, aerosols and foams, the two entities revealed that in the face of stiff opposition and alarmist lobbying from vested interests in the chemicals industry, Parliament negotiators led by Dutch MEP Bas Eickhout, were able to secure important improvements while holding the line on other critical measures that will help European transition to climate-friendly alternatives.

Giving details, the communiqué said that alongside the cap and phase-down, the EU has agreed to ban the use of HFCs in new equipment in a number of sectors, most notably in commercial refrigeration by 2022.  In addition, from 2020 very high global warming potential HFCs (over 2,500 times more potent than CO2) will no longer be used to service and maintain refrigeration equipment.

The new regulation will reportedly cap the amount of HFCs which can be placed on the European market, gradually reducing over time the amount to 21% by 2030.

“This is a hugely encouraging lead from Europe in the fight against climate change,” said Clare Perry, Head of EIA’s Global Environment Campaign. “With the EU showing a progressive lead in this field, this decision should act as a catalyst for future international negotiations in pursuit of a global deal to address HFCs which, if achieved, could avoid emissions of up to 100 billion tonnes of CO2-equivalent by 2050.”

Susanna Williams, Climate and Energy Policy Officer at the EEB, said: “Over 400 European companies, many of them small businesses, produce climate-friendly alternatives using natural refrigerants. Innovative businesses like these will only grow and generate jobs if Europe gives them the right market signal.”


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