7 November 2012

"Acting now on HFCs will give EU an advantage"

EUROPE: As the air conditioning and refrigeration industry awaits the publication of the EU F-gas review proposals, climate change commissioner Connie Hedegaard has said that the review process has shown the need for further action.
The official publication of the review proposals are expected this week but it is unclear whether or how much the content will differ from the proposals contained in the earlier document leaked in September. However, speaking at the Atmosphere Europe 2012 conference in Brussels yesterday, the commissioner said that, with the help of a 50-person strong expert group comprising representatives from industry, NGOs and authorities, 'we have thoroughly examined different possibilities to take action'.

The commissioner also repeated the belief that there are several low global warming potential alternatives already available. 'Alternatives that are technically feasible, safe, equally or more energy efficient and affordable,' she said.

The contents of the new proposals may not be known yet but Connie Hedegaard's comments suggest that they will still include an HFC phase-down timetable. Speaking to the Atmosphere Europe conference, Connie Hedegaard emphasised the need to promote the Montreal protocol as the best place for addressing HFCs and saw the Montreal Protocol meeting in Geneva next week as an occasion for the EU to promote a global phase down. She also said that the EU would call for further urgent action on HFCs at the climate conference in Doha later this month

'Contrary to most countries in the world, we already have binding legislation regulating F-gases in the EU,' she said. 'The current regulation on F-gases addresses all equipment using F-gases but focuses to a large degree on preventing emissions on F-gas equipment in use and after use. Provision and using F-gases are currently limited to a few fringe sectors and applications and these pieces of legislation will achieve a stabilisation of emissions at today's level. If we did not have this legislation in the EU, emissions from F-Gases would have doubled from now until 2030.

'Acting now, we prevented many future emissions. Acting now would add momentum to the international scene, where we have already seen some movement. Acting now will put EU industry in a first-move position. It gives you an advantage if you're among the first movers.'

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