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Europe 'could replace HFCs by 2020', says report

A report commissioned by green lobbyists Environmental Investigation Agency says naturals could be used in ‘most new cooling equipment’ by 2020

The study, entitled Availability of Low-GWP Alternatives to HFCs: Feasibility of an Early Phase-Out of HFCs by 2020, argues that HFCs can be banned from new equipment in 20 sectors by 2020, with energy-efficient and more climate-friendly alternatives able to take their place. It was produced by Michael Kauffield of the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences and commissioned by the Environmental Investigation Agency.

Clare Perry , EIA senior campaigner, said: “The EU has a fantastic opportunity, and a responsibility, to phase out the use of HFCs. There is simply no reason for new HFC equipment or products to be allowed on the market when efficient, safe and affordable alternatives are available.”

”Banning the use of HFCs in new equipment could prevent the release of 600 million tonnes C02-equivalent by 2030, more than the UK’s entire annual carbon emissions.  At the same time, many of the alternatives are more energy-efficient than existing technologies.”

The independent study, commissioned as part of the review recently identifies numerous shortcomings in the Regulation, including a lack of implementation and enforcement in many parts of the EU.

In a statement the EIA said: “The European Commission is expected to bring forward its initial proposals for a review of the F-Gas Regulation in the autumn.

One of the key battlegrounds is over whether to rely exclusively on a cap and phase-down approach preferred by the HFC industry or whether to also include bans in sectors when HFCs are not needed.

Bans have proven highly effective in other HFC sectors when adopted and are supported by a coalition of environmental NGOs including EIA, European Environmental Bureau, Greenpeace and WWF.”

The European Commission is currently undertaking a review of its F-Gas Regulation.

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