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Green groups join forces to urge faster HFC phase-out

Coalition of environmental lobbyists call on EU to take ‘ambitious action’

A coalition of environmental organisations has called on the European Union’s climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, to propose ambitious action to phase out climate-changing fluorinated gases, or F-gases.

The call has been jointly issued by Greenpeace, the World Wide Fund for Nature and the Environmental Investigation Agency, together with seven other green campaign groups. It comes as the EU is preparing a review of the laws governing F-gases and points out that research conducted for the European Commission shows the use of F-gases can be banned from new equipment in ‘most sectors’ by 2020.

Such a move would reduce fluorinated gases now and in the future, abating more than 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 2030 and in excess of 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2-eq emissions by 2050, the group says. It would also enable European businesses to develop a global advantage in a new clean technology industry, they believe.

The coalition’s letter has been sent in response to their concern that the European Commission will propose ‘weak measures based on an unambitious phase-down of the gases over a long timeframe, essentially allowing companies to continue polluting as normal.’

Environmental Investigation Agency climate campaigner Alasdair Cameron said: “Using alternatives to HFCs not only reduces direct emissions of these greenhouse gases but there are also energy efficiency gains to be made. This is one of the cheapest and most effective things Europe can do to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.”

He added: “In order for industry to have the confidence to invest in alternatives, we need clear bans on the use of F-gases on a sector-by-sector basis. The mostly European businesses providing alternatives need concrete timeframes for planning and investment purposes, something that a so-called ‘economy-wide phase-down’ will not provide”.

The full list of signatories is: Greenpeace; the World Wide Fund for Nature; the Environmental Investigation Agency; European Environmental Bureau, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Climate Action Network Europe, Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, Natuur & Milieu, CDM Watch and ClientEarth

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