EC presents proposal to strengthen F-Gas Regulation at ATMOsphere Europe

By Alexandra Maratou, Nov 08, 2012, 16:58 4 minute reading

Yesterday saw the launch of the long-awaited proposal to strengthen the existing EU F-Gas Regulation. The launch coincided with the ATMOsphere Europe conference, where Bente Tranholm-Schwarz from the European Commission (EC) presented the proposal to about 200 participants, rounding off statements at the event by the European Commissioner for Climate Action Connie Hedegaard, who noted that action on f-gases is needed now to put EU industry in a “first-mover” position.

On the 2nd day of ATMOsphere Europe 2012 conference, participants had the “world exclusive" privilege of Bente Tranholm-Schwarz from the European Commission presenting the new F-Gas Regulation to industry for the first time after publication.

EU Climate Commissioner: “Acting now will put EU industry in a first-mover position”

In a keynote speech during the 1st day of the conference, EU Climate Commissioner Ms Hedegaard had noted that “acting now will put EU industry in a first-mover position and many of you are living proof of this. […] Innovation is key to addressing the challenge of climate change while at the same time preserving our competitiveness. Some Member States, I know, have already demonstrated that pioneering legislation in this field not only benefits the climate, but clearly also the first movers”.

“In many if not most sectors there are several suitable low-global warming potential alternatives already available today. Alternatives that are technically feasible, alternatives that are safe, alternatives that are equally or more energy-efficient, and alternatives that are affordable.”

“When people sometimes say that it is tricky, it is difficult, it is expensive to invest in innovation we need in different areas - including what we are talking about here today - I think it is very important to realise that the costs of continuing business as usual are even higher”, she underlined.

Current F-Gas Regulation not adequate

Ms Hedegaard referred to statistics released the week before that show that f-gas emissions in the EU have risen by 60% since 1990 although other greenhouse gas emissions have in the same period decreased by 18%. Looking forward, the EU is on track to stabilise f-gas emissions by 2050 at today’s levels, which is not adequate in the context of the overall EU objective to cut emissions by 80-95% by 2050. Filling the gap, the proposed Regulation aims to reduce f-gas emissions by two-thirds of today's levels by 2030, representing a cost-efficient contribution from the f-gas sector to the overall economic effort needed to avoid more costly consequences of climate change in the future.

At the international level, the proposal comes in time for the 24th meeting of the Parties to Montreal Protocol in Geneva next week, where countries will once again try to get one step closer to reaching an international agreement on taking action on HFCs. “Acting now will add momentum to the international scene”, said the Commissioner.

She also informed participants that the European Commission will also put forward the case of taking international action on HFCs in the Doha UNFCCC climate talks in December 2012, as part of a ministerial round table on short-term measures to tackle climate change.

The Commissioner expressed the hope that EU Member States at the Council of the EU as well as the European Parliament who will be considering the proposal in the coming months give “a high priority” to the revision of the F-Gas Regulation, and called on the industry to push in that direction.

“I can assure you that we work very hard to give you the frame you need to innovate”, the Commissioner stated before concluding her speech.

F-Gas Regulation proposal explained: going beyond containment & recovery

Issued on 7 November 2012 the European Commission proposal to revise the F-Gas Regulation, encompasses a combination of measures, including:

1. 79% phase-down target by 2030 in CO2eq
applicable to all HFC producers and importers of at least 1,000 tonnes CO2eq:
  • Gradually declining “cap” on bulk HFCs placed on EU market with a freeze in 2015, first reduction step in 2016 and reaching 21% of average levels of tonnes CO2eq sold in 2008-2011 by 2030
  • Entities placing bulk HFCs on the EU market must hold rights; the EC allocates free quotas of rights to companies based on past reporting data, with a reserve for new entrants
2. New to containment requirements:
  • Now expressed in tonnes CO2eq rather than kg of HFCs (applicable to systems containing at least 5 tonnes CO2eq);
  • Expanded to refrigerated trucks and trailers

3. Bans on HFCs with GWP ≥ 150 in new:
  • domestic refrigeration,
  • hermetically-sealed refrigeration equipment for commercial use;
  • movable air conditioning equipment

3. Bans on servicing existing refrigeration equipment containing more than 5 tonnes CO2eq with very high-GWP HFCs (2,500 GWP threshold) starting 3 years after the regulation enters into force

4. Ban on pre-charging non hermetically-sealed equipment
; hence requirement for on-site refrigerant charging

5. Training and certification
programmes required for persons handling equipment shall cover technologies to replace or reduce the use of f-gases, and their safe handling; training certificates valid for a maximum of 5 years 


By Alexandra Maratou

Nov 08, 2012, 16:58

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