EU, US and Australian lawmakers give latest outlook on f-gas measures – Part 1

By Klara Skačanová, Jul 24, 2012, 14:51 3 minute reading

The first session of the ‘Advancing Ozone & Climate Protection Technologies: Next Steps‘ conference in Bangkok was dedicated to f-gas policy drivers, perspectives and experiences from different parts of the world. R744.com reports in this first article on presentations provided by the Australian government on the application of an equivalent carbon price to HFCs, and the European Commission on the revision of the F-Gas Regulation.

About 400 public policy and industry experts gathered in Bangkok, Thailand on 21-22 July 2012 for the ‘Advancing Ozone & Climate Protection Technologies: Next Steps‘ conference that preceded the 32nd meeting of the Open Ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol (OEWG32).

EU: “A phase down of f-gases seems an excellent idea” but does not exclude other measures such as bans

“I think that we are at a crossroad”, said Philip Owen, European Commission, starting off his presentation on the ongoing revision of the EU Regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases (f-gases).

The revision is needed in the EU as it has become clear that EU greenhouse gas reduction targets cannot be met with existing rules. Additional measures on f-gases will contribute to reaching these targets in a cost-efficient way. “There is a need to look further, look at alternatives, at efficiency and encourage innovation”.

“Perhaps the regulator needs to step in as the market might not know best. Perhaps certain prohibitions are necessary”, noted Mr Owen. “We have been looking at this for 18 months and we have realised that there are alternatives to HFCs for most applications”, he said referring to preparatory studies feeding into the revision process. He further noted that the use of alternatives results in many cases in cost reductions, e.g. cheaper refrigerant gases, and systems with better energy efficiency.

Mr Owen also stressed the importance of economies of scale and hence the decreasing cost that a shift to alternatives in the EU market will bring about.

“Overall, a phase down of f-gases seems an excellent idea, as it is technology neutral and according to modeling by EC it is the most cost effective”. Following this approach, emissions can be reduced by 20% of current levels by 2030.

However Mr Owen stressed that the various options that are on the table for the review in addition to the full application of the existing regulation are non-mutually exclusive:
  • Improving containment (scope, training, monitoring, …)
  • Progressively limiting supply of HFCs (“phase-down”)
  • Certain use & marketing prohibitions for new equipment (“bans”)

He closed his presentation by making the parallel to the EU’s good experience with a combination of a general phase-out schedule, containment requirements and sector specific use and placing on the market bans already under EU legislation on ozone-depleting substances.

Australia: HFC levy starts driving innovation

Patrick McInerney of the Australian Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities discussed the equivalent carbon price on synthetic greenhouse gases (SGG) including HFCs that applies since 1 July 2012. For 2012 – 2013, the levy translates to AUD 29,90 for 1 kg of R134a and AUD 74,99 for 1 kg of R404A.

The carbon price, which is applied through Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas legislation, is set to encourage:
  • Increased recycling of synthetic greenhouse gases
  • Improved servicing of existing equipment to reduce leakage
  • A switch to purpose-designed equipment using lower GWP gases, only where this is appropriate and meets relevant safety standards and legislative requirements
  • Innovation by manufacturers to develop safe, low GWP gases and suitably designed equipment for those gases

Regarding the spur of innovation, the presenter noted that in fact Australia is already starting to see manufacturers looking at low GWP alternatives.

Moreover, a programme for the destruction of waste ozone depleting substances (ODS) and SGGs is currently being developed and is set to start on 1 July 2013. The programme will provide incentives for the destruction of waste SGGs and ozone depleting substances, recovered at end of life, with payments made after verification of destruction of the gas. The government will develop the details of the destruction programme in consultation with the industry, including with Refrigerant Reclaim Australia.

MORE INFORMATION

By Klara Skačanová

Jul 24, 2012, 14:51




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