Commission Proposes Significant Reduction in Emissions of Fluorinated Gases

The European Commission has taken an important step today towards long-term climate objectives by presenting a proposal to significantly reduce emissions of fluorinated gases (F-gases). Emissions of F-gases, which have a warming effect up to 23,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, have risen by 60% since 1990, while all other greenhouse gases have been reduced. The proposed Regulation aims to reduce F-gas emissions by two-thirds of today’s levels by 2030. It also bans the use of F-gases in some new equipment, such as household fridges, where viable more climate-friendly alternatives are readily available.

F-gases are commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning, as well as in electrical equipment, insulation foams, aerosol sprays and fire extinguishers. They leak into the atmosphere from production plants, from appliances they are used in, and when such appliances are thrown away.

The proposal introduces a phase-down measure that from 2015 limits the total amount of the most significant group of F-gases – Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – that can be sold in the EU and reduces this in steps to one fifth of today’s sales by 2030. This measure will build on the successful phasing out of ozone-depleting substances which was achieved in the EU 10 years ahead of the schedule agreed internationally.

The proposal will be submitted to the European Parliament and the Council for discussion and adoption under the ordinary legislative procedure.

The European Commission’s low-carbon roadmap lays out a cost-efficient way to achieve the necessary reduction in emissions required under a global effort to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. In order to achieve this objective, all sectors and greenhouse gases must contribute.

The roadmap envisages a reduction of emissions of over 70% by 2030 for the industrial sector that includes F-gases. The new proposal has been designed to achieve these savings, representing a cost-efficient contribution from the F-gas sector to the overall economic effort needed to avoid more costly consequences of climate change in the future.

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