EU Member States approve the agreement by the co-legislators on the Regulation on reduction of emissions of Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases)

http://www.eu2013.lt/en/news/pressreleases/member-states-approve-the-agreement-by-the-co-legislators-on-the-regulation-on-reduction-of-emissions-of-fluorinated-greenhouse-gases-f-gases- (18 December 2013) 

The Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER I) endorsed the agreement reached by the Lithuanian Presidency and the European Parliament on the Proposal for a Regulation on fluorinated greenhouse gases, the objective of which is to protect the environment by reducing emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

According to the Minister of Environment of Lithuania Valentinas Mazuronis, the agreed legislative text sets a clear regulatory framework ensuring substantial reduction of fluorinated greenhouse gases in cost effective manner and at the same time giving clear signals to the industry.

“The Lithuanian Presidency aimed at reaching the agreement on this important environmental dossier before the end of this year, to enable an early implementation of the Regulation, including its phase down schedule. The EU work on the reduction of F-gas emissions is also an important signal in the context of the upcoming international negotiations under the Montreal Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change,” said Minister Mazuronis.

This Regulation lays down rules on containment, use, recovery and destruction of fluorinated greenhouse gases, and related ancillary measures. It also imposes conditions on the placing on the market of specific products and equipment containing or relying upon fluorinated greenhouse gases and specific uses of these gases, whilst setting out quantitative limits for the placing on the market of hydrofluorocarbons.

The first trilogue of co-legislators took place on 7 October, the fourth and last one - on 16 December. Core elements of the agreement reached on Monday are:

  • Phase down schedule as initially suggested by the Commission;
  • Bans on stationary refrigeration (ban on multipack centralised refrigeration systems with GWP of 150 in 2022 and ban on hermetically sealed refrigerators and freezers with GWP of 150 in 2022) and stationary air conditioning (single split air conditioning systems with GWP of 750 in 2025);
  • Question of quota pricing to be addressed through a review clause empowering the Commission to assess quota allocation method.

Background

On 7 November 2012 the Commission submitted the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on fluorinated greenhouse gases. The Irish Presidency started working on the proposal in the Council, and the work has been continued by the Lithuanian Presidency. On 19 June 2013 the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament voted amendments to the Proposal.

F-gases

According to the cost-effective pathway to decarbonise the EU economy, emissions of F-gases should be reduced in the order of 70-78% by 2050 and by 72-73% by 2030 at a marginal abatement cost of approximately €50 per tonne CO2 equivalent. In total, F-gases account for 2% of all greenhouse gases in the EU today but have a much more potent atmospheric warming potential than CO2. They are used in a variety of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, in insulation foams and electrical equipment, in aerosol sprays, as solvents or in fire protection systems. Emissions occur mainly during emissive uses (of aerosol sprays or solvents for example) or due to leakage during the operation and disposal of products and equipment that contain F-gases.

Most F-gases have been developed by industry to replace ozone-depleting substances (ODS) that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. Due to greater wealth and population growth, more products and equipment that rely on F-gases or ODS are sold. As a result, there has been a sharp increase worldwide in the production and use of F-gases since 1990 and will, if unaddressed, lead to considerable emissions into the atmosphere. Since products and equipment that contain F-gases often have a long life, if no action is taken today, high emissions that could have been prevented will continue for decades to come.

 

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