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NewsFluorinated gas emission reductions to advance EU fight against climate change

Fluorinated gas emission reductions to advance EU fight against climate change

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Parliament’s Environment Committee agrees to an ambitious reduction of fluorinated greenhouse gases emissions, to further contribute to EU’s climate neutrality goal.

On Wednesday members of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) adopted their position on revising the EU’s legislative framework on fluorinated gases (F-gases) emissions with 64 votes in favour, 8 against and 7 abstentions.

Move faster towards alternative solutions

To accelerate innovation in, and the development of, more climate-friendly solutions and to provide certainty for consumers and investors, MEPs want to strengthen new requirements proposed by the Commission that prohibit the placing on the single market of products containing F-gases (Annex IV). The text also adds prohibitions on the use of F-gases for sectors where it is technologically and economically feasible to switch to alternatives that do not use F-gases, such as refrigeration, air conditioning, heat pumps and electrical switchgear.

Accelerate the transition to climate neutrality

The report introduces a steeper trajectory from 2039 onwards to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) placed on the EU market, with the goal of a zero HFC target by 2050 (Annex VII). Phasing out HFC production and consumption in the EU would align these updated rules with the EU’s 2050 climate neutrality goal.

According to MEPs, the Commission should closely monitor market developments in key sectors such as heat pumps and semiconductors. For heat pumps, the Commission needs to ensure that the HFC phase-down would not endanger the RePowerEU heat pump deployment targets as the industry has to work towards replacing HFCs with natural alternatives.

Enhance enforcement to prevent illegal trade

MEPs propose more action on illegal trade in these gases by proposing minimum administrative fines for non-compliance. They also want customs authorities to seize and confiscate F-gases imported or exported in violation of the rules, in line with the environmental crime directive.

Quote

Rapporteur Bas Eickhout (Greens/EFA, NL) said: “F-gases are not well known, but have major implications for our climate, as they are very powerful greenhouse gases. In most instances, natural alternatives are readily available. That’s why we voted for an ambitious position to fully phase out F-gases by 2050 and in most sectors already by the end of this decade. We are providing clarity to the market and a signal to invest in alternatives. Many European companies are already at the forefront of this development and will benefit from it, because of their market position and export opportunities.”

Next steps

The report is scheduled to be adopted during the 29-30 March 2023 plenary sitting and will constitute Parliament’s negotiating position with EU governments on the final shape of the legislation.

Background

Fluorinated greenhouse gases, which include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride, are man-made greenhouse gases (GHG) with high global warming potential. They are used in common appliances such as refrigerators, air-conditioning, heat pumps, fire protection, foams and aerosols. They are covered by the Paris Agreement together with CO2, methane and nitrous oxide and account for around 2,5% of EU’s GHG emissions.

Additional reduction of F-gases emissions is needed to contribute to EU climate objectives and comply with the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.

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