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European Parliament report proposes HFC use bans in the EU

07 March 2013

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A new draft European Parliament (EP) report on the revisions to the current EU F-Gas Regulation proposed in November 2012 by the European Commission not only supports banning the use of HFCs in certain equipment like domestic refrigeration, but also proposes additional subsectors in which prohibitions are appropriate: for example stationary refrigeration and air conditioning as of 2020, or mobile refrigeration as of 2025. The report also proposes a tougher HFC phase-down schedule, as well as measures to encourage recovery and recycling of f-gases.
The Rapporteur Bas Eickhout, a Dutch Member of the European Parliament (MEP), notes in the explanatory statement that “ […] placing on the market (POM) prohibitions are appropriate when these sustainable alternatives can meet the demand for new equipment in a certain subsector” and that “[…] prohibitions and use bans provide the clear market signals requested by smaller European companies producing sustainable alternatives and ensure a transparent, stable and predictable investment climate.”
 
Proposed HFC bans in new equipment
 
The report proposes the following bans in refrigeration and air-conditioning respectively:
 
Refrigeration
  • Domestic refrigerators and freezers that contain HFCs - as of 2015
  • Refrigeration equipment that contain f-gases with GWP of 2150 or more - as of 2015
  • Hermetically sealed commercial refrigeration systems that contain HFCs with GWP of 2150 or more – as of 2015
  • Hermetically sealed commercial refrigeration systems that contain HFCs – as of 2018
  • Stationary refrigeration as of 2020 
  • Mobile refrigeration except fishing vessels as of 2025 
 
Air conditioning
  • Movable room air-conditioning appliances (hermetically sealed equipment which is movable between rooms by the end user) that contain HFCs – as of 2020
  • Stationary air-conditioning equipment except centrifugal chillers that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases - as of 2020
  • Air-conditioning equipment in cargo ships that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases - as of 2020
  • Centrifugal chillers that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases - as of 2027
 
Steeper HFC phase-down & quota allocation fees according to “polluter pays principle”
 
The report introduces measures to eliminate over-allocation of quotas to suppliers of bulk HFCs and ensure a technically feasible and cost-effective phase-down schedule, in particular:
 
  • A more ambitious phase-down target and schedule: The report proposes an overall 84% phase-down target by 2030 in CO2eq applicable to all HFC producers and importers, compared to the previously proposed 79% phase-down target by 2030 in CO2eq by the European Commission. It also proposes more ambitious steps in terms of the gradually declining “cap” on bulk HFCs placed on EU market towards the final phase-down target, notably before 2018 and after 2023.
  • Allocation fee for HFC rights at 30€/ton CO2-eq: In accordance with the polluter pays principle the report introduces an allocation fee of 30€/ton CO2-eq for the use of HFC quotas by entities placing bulk HFCs on the EU market, securing a revenue stream to compensate for regional differences in costs due to climate conditions.
 
Measures to improve containment and recovery
 
The report introduces amendments to limit leakage and promote recovery, such as:
 
  • Service ban with very high-GWP HFCs: The report proposes an earlier date (2015 compared to 2020) for the servicing and maintenance ban of existing refrigeration equipment with HFCs with GWP above 2,150. At the same time it also proposes excluding around 80% of the systems in the small commercial sector by increasing the threshold from 5 to 40 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, as well as refrigeration equipment operating at temperatures below -50°C. For these sectors, the use of recovered very high-GWP HFCs would still be allowed to promote recycling.
  • Recovery schemes: To ensure recovery recycling, reclamation or destruction of F-gases and promote producer responsibility, the report proposes that all Member States set up recovery schemes.
  • Maximum leakage rates: To improve compliance and enforcement, the report proposes the establishment of maximum leakage rates for each type of equipment, based on best industry practices, experiences in Member States and international and European standards.
 
Next steps
 
The report is a ‘living’ document and its content could substantially change within the following weeks. Members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee will be submitting amendments to the report until 28 March 2013, with a vote by the Committee expected on 19 June 2013.

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