Europe needs to stop emitting f-gases far before the middle of the century, in an effort meet the 2050 climate objectives of the European Union, said Bente Tranholm Schwarz, Deputy Head of Unit for DG Clima, European Commission (EC).

Tranholm Schwarz made these remarks as part of the EU F-Gas Policy Panel at the ATMOsphere Europe conference, which took place online September 29-29. ATMOsphere Europe was organized by ATMOsphere (formerly shecco), publisher of this website.

“Business as usual is over, The f-gas industry will have to play its role in supporting Europe in achieving its climate targets,” said Tranholm Schwarz in her presentation, titled “European Green Deal, Tuning our EU F-Gas Policy.”

Europe’s climate targets were outlined in July when the EC launched a package of 13 legislative proposals to reduce the bloc’s CO2e emissions by 55% in 2030.

The current EU F-Gas Regulation contributes to those targets by targeting a 72% to73% reduction of HFC emissions by 2030 and a 70% to 78% reduction by 2050, both compared to 1990 levels. 

However, the EC is currently fine tuning proposals for a revision of the F-Gas Regulation. The proposals are likely to be presented in the first half of 2022 and will be discussed trilaterally with the European Parliament and the European Council before entering into force.

The German Environment Agency (UBA) is calling for a target of 90% HFC emissions reduction by 2030, said Diana Thalheim, Scientist and Policy Advisor at UBA, who also spoke at the policy session. This would remove an additional 100 million metric tons of CO2e emissions compared to the existing f-gas phase-down plan, according to UBA. The German proposal also includes GWP limit of 150 for single-split air conditioners, stationary refrigeration, and heat pumps. “We have seen many new applications entering the market that need support,” Thalheim said.

In May, UBA released a report focused on the potential environment hazards on the latest generation of f-gases, HFOs, and recommended  that “alternatives with natural refrigerants should be preferred and promoted.” 

Calling for HFC bans

A third panelist, Clare Perry, Climate Campaign Leader at Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), called for a ban on HFCs single-split residential air conditioners, and a remedy for illegal trade of f-gases in Europe while supporting energy efficient, f-gas- free heat pumps. “Wherever HFCs are technically avoidable, we should not use them,” she said.

Another panelist, Eoin Lennon, Director of Innovation at Ireland-based Novum, which manufacturers propane (R290)-based commercial display cases, called for ambitious HFC bans, and support for industries working with natural refrigerants, including incentives, tax reductions and training programs. Representing the Clean Cooling Coalition, he also cautioned against the uptake of HFOs, as their drawbacks to the environment and human health are currently being investigated and analyzed.

“Wherever HFCs are technically avoidable, we should not use them.”

Clare Perry, EIA

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