EU: Environment MEPs give green light to HFC bans

By Klara Skačanová, Jun 20, 2013, 15:36 2 minute reading

On 19 June 2013, Members of the European Parliament’s (MEPs) Environment Committee supported the introduction of HFC bans in new air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Moreover, the report adopted foresees a steeper reduction of emissions from fluorinated gases and mandatory certification of technicians on alternatives. While this gives a clear and strong signal to the industry, an agreement with other European institutions is still to be negotiated.

Bas Eickhout, Member of the European Parliament leading the work on the F-Gas file told hydrocarbons21.com:
“I think today’s vote is a very, very important outcome for the industry that has been investing in the natural alternatives. They have a very clear signal now that their technologies will be the only ones on the European market after 2020 and it goes down to stationary air-conditioning and refrigeration. I think that is a very important signal also for the ones that have been relying on f-gases – they know it will stop after 2020. That is a major important step and a clear signal that we as a Parliament are now giving.”

With 49 votes in favour and 19 against, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) has strongly supported the transition to a low-carbon economy and green jobs.

Additional and stricter HFC bans

The Environment Committee has tightened HFC bans for new equipment in sectors already proposed by the European Commission in November 2012, and has further expanded the list of AC&R sectors, which now includes:
  • 2015: Domestic refrigeration
  • 2018: Plug-in commercial refrigeration (hermetically-sealed)
  • 2020: Stationary refrigeration
  • 2020: Stationary air-conditioning
  • 2020: Movable room air-conditioning
  • 2020: Air-conditioning in cargo ships
  • 2025: Mobile refrigeration

Nevertheless, a possibility to get a time-limited exemption for a certain application upon a substantiated request has been included. Such an exemption would only be possible following an expert consultation.

More ambitious phase-down & mandatory certification on alternatives

In yesterday’s vote the Environment Members also backed a more ambitious phase-down schedule that would reduce the maximum quantities of HFCs (in CO2eq) to 16% by 2030 as compared to reference values between 2009 and 2012. Previously the European Commission had proposed a reduction up to 21% by 2030 in comparison to 2008-2011 basis.

As the use of alternative technologies is bound to become a commonplace, the Members of the European Parliament have recognised the importance of technicians learning how to handle them. The report adopted yesterday stipulates that Member States need to ensure that training on alternatives is available and certificates would be issued under the condition that the holder provides proof of having updated relevant knowledge and skills in intervals no longer than 5 years.

Next steps

While the Parliament has given a strong signal to the natural refrigerant industry, the negotiations with EU Member States are expected to get tough.

Mr Eickhout hopes to reach an agreement with the European Commission and the Council of the EU in November:
“We have a mandate for starting negotiations with the Council. We know that the Council is not as far yet as the Parliament, but I have been talking to the Lithuanian presidency and I recommended them to move towards the Parliament in order to have a smooth negotiation round in order to be ready before we go to the next climate summit in Warsaw, which is in November. And I do hope we can get a good outcome, which will stimulate natural refrigerants in Europe.”

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By Klara Skačanová

Jun 20, 2013, 15:36




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