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Keeping cool with refrigerants: The F-gas review

Posted on: 2011-07-17 09:56:20


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Keeping cool with refrigerants: The F-gas review

Published 13 July 2011 - Updated 15 July 2011

Fluorinated gases power the world's refrigerants and air conditioning systems, and make up around 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. But if business continues as usual, by 2050 they could be responsible for between 9%-19% of global emissions, prompting EU policymakers to take action to contain leakage or even ban their use.  

F-gases are covered by the Kyoto Protocol, which commits the EU to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 8% between 2008 and 2012. 


In 2006, the EU adopted a piece of legislation to constrain the use of HFCs:


A regulation – enforceable directly at national level – was passed to cover air conditioning systems, industrial refrigeration and other 'stationary' industrial applications. Domestic refrigerators were excluded. Obligations covered the containment of leakages, recovery of used equipment, labelling of products, reporting of emissions data to the EU, and a ban on the use of some F-gases, such as SF6 (magnesium dye-casting).


F GAS Review


The European Commission was mandated to publish a report on the application of the F-gas measures by 4 July 2011, following a public consultation which closed earlier in January. Öko-Recherche, the consultants responsible, submitted a preliminary report to the European Commission in July.


The report recommends that on top of the 2006 legislation, "further reductions of F-gas emission may be appropriate and these will need to be based on additional policy measures".  Among other things, these would cover HFC emissions from mobile air conditioning systems in ships, rail vehicles, transport refrigeration and refrigerated ships.


Following an October 2011 impact assessment, the Commission will decide whether or not to propose changes to the F-gas regulation later in the year. Many issues will need to be resolved first.