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EC launches F-Gas consultation in wake of 'inadequate' emissions cuts

The EC has launched a consultation of the measures required to reduce F-gas emissions, alongside the publication of long-awaited review of the F-Gas Regulation’s impact across Europe. The Review of progress in the four years since the Regulation concluded it “is having a significant impact but that, without further measures, F-gas emissions are expected to remain at today’s levels in the long term.”

The potential policy options being consulted on include: new voluntary agreements, bans on new equipment containing the gases and the introduction of a scheme for phasing-down of HFCs.

The EU climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard said that she would introduce legislation in 2012 in a bid to accelerate the phase-down of HFCs.

The review states that training and certification requirements currently apply to more than half a million engineers in the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump sectors in Europe and over 60,000 companies
and 66 000 companies. Of these over half of companies and over half of engineers were not certified at the July 4 deadline.

The review found a ‘low degree of overall compliance’ with F-gas containment requirements in Europe, with record keeping running at under 50 per cent of operators of small commercial systems.

The EC also reported difficulties in enforcing the regulations on non-refillable containers due to lack of tools and expertise.

It said that if properly applied in the short-term, the F-Gas Regulation together with the MAC Directive, could avoid almost half of projected emissions, stabilising emissions at today’s levels. But it said, to reach this potential, “it is critical that Member States rapidly intensify their efforts to implement and
enforce the Regulation properly.”

The conclusion was that there are ‘some shortcomings in the current application of some of the Regulation’s
key provisions, in particular training and certification, containment, and recovery provisions.’

“However,” the report concludes, “In the context of the overall EU objective to cut emissions by 80-95 per cent by 2050, the stabilisation of F-gas emissions at today’s levels is not adequate and the analysis shows that
already available or emerging low-GWP technologies are technically feasible and can be cost-effective
in many application areas.”

“With ongoing research constantly improving their safety and performance characteristics, such options have the potential to gradually replace technology based on F-gases with high-GWP, thereby aiding the transition to a climate-friendly low carbon economy. Consequently, the EU must take further action to achieve further cost effective reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”


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