The European Commission yesterday officially voted in favour of the F-gas revision proposals which were recently adopted by the European Parliament.
The European Commission issued a statement welcoming the proposal which limits the use of fluorinated gases (F-gases) and ozone-depleting substances (ODS).
“Today's endorsement marks an important step towards reaching the EU's 2030 climate goals and climate neutrality by 2050; it will eliminate an additional 500 million tonnes of CO2-equivalent emissions by 2050, which is comparable to the combined annual emissions of France and Belgium,” the statement said.
The new rules will eliminate the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the most common F-gases, by 2050.
Under the new regulations, the existing quota levels have been significantly reduced, further limiting imports and production of HFCs year-on-year.
By 2030 HFCs placed on the market in the EU will be phased down by 95 per cent below 2015 levels, and will be completely phased out by mid-century.
The rules will also restrict the use of all F-gases in equipment where climate-friendly alternatives are available, such as heat pumps, switchgear for energy transmission or products used in the health sector.
New obligations will also reduce F-gas and ODS emissions from insulation foams in old buildings and those under renovation.
To stimulate exports of climate-friendly equipment and ensure harmful products are not put on the global market, the new measures on F-gases will ensure that obsolete equipment using refrigerants with a high global warming potential may not be exported from the EU.
“Today's agreement sends a clear signal to manufacturers of products that traditionally use F-gases to steer their investments towards climate-friendly alternatives wherever feasible,” the statement said.
“This will stimulate innovation and the development of clean technologies. Prices are expected to go down as the market for climate-friendly equipment expands, and the new equipment will typically lead to more energy savings from higher energy efficiency over the products' lifetime.”
EU trade bodies and manufacturers raised concerns about the revisions.
The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), representing manufacturing companies and associations operating in the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump industry in Europe, said there was a lack of clarity.
“There is a lack of clear definitions in the Revision as well as insufficient consideration of the better regulation agenda and energy efficiency first principles,” the EPEE said.
The EPEE also expressed concern about varying rules across Member States, which could hinder implementation efforts.
Director general of EPEE, Russell Patten, said members will be working to implement this new regulation to achieve further reductions in greenhouse gases.
“Our aim is always to support Europe’s action on climate change with highly efficient products that EU citizens rely on every day,” Patten said.
“We are a key partner in successfully implementing this regulation and helping the EU achieve the goals associated with this revision.
“Without proper implementation in coordination with industry, a reduction in emissions and widespread use of climate-friendly technologies will turn out to be only dreams rather than reality.”
EPEE called for improved impact assessment and on-time study reports for future review, to allow for industry to plan accordingly and meet the EU’s critical sustainability goals.
By 2040 the Commission will also have to evaluate the feasibility of the 2050 phase-out date for the consumption of HFCs and the need for HFCs in sectors where they are still used, taking into account technological developments and the availability of alternatives.