Ambitious draft proposals watered down and lacking ambition, says EIA
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has reacted with disappointment to the publication of the final proposal for the European Union’s Review of the F-Gas Regulation, citing weak measures and a lack of ambition.
The proposed revisions, which were released by the European Commission on November 7, reportedly govern the use of climate-changing hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerants – super greenhouse gases many hundreds or thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
Clare Perry, EIA Senior Campaigner, said: “We welcome the confirmation that Europe will begin phasing-out HFCs. However, the proposal is a missed opportunity and shows all the hallmarks of heavy industry lobbying. More ambitious draft proposals that were leaked previously have been watered down, bans have been removed and what [we] have left is lacking in ambition.”
According to EIA, the new proposal contains a range of measures to reduce emissions of HFCs, including a cap and phase down of 79% by 2030, and bans on use of HFCs in domestic, hermetically sealed commercial systems (usually small) and some other applications. However, it also omits several key measures for which environmental campaign groups and many industry stakeholders have been calling, such as bans on the use of HFCs in new industrial and commercial refrigeration equipment. EIA highlighted that studies conducted for the European Commission have shown that new equipment bans can be implemented in all the key sectors by 2020.
In this regard, Alasdair Cameron, EIA Campaigner, said: “By failing to include ambitious bans, this new law will not achieve the emissions reductions required. The cap and phase down is weak and, without the back-up of bans in areas where we know safe and energy-efficient alternatives are available, it will not provide the certainty that industry needs to invest in new technologies and will not reach the emissions reductions needed.
“The Commission has been unable to provide the necessary level of ambition and it will be up to the European Parliament and the Member States to do better in the coming months. It is clear that we need, and can have, stronger measures and we are confident that in the end they can be achieved.”
EIA pointed out that currently, HFCs account for about one to two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, but estimates suggest this will rise to up to 19% by 2050 without action. HFCs are the only greenhouse gases on the rise in Europe, it added.