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Environmental groups step up calls for rapid HFC phase-out

EUROPE: With the European Commission currently formulating its review of the F-gas regulations, environmental groups have stepped up calls for a phase-out of HFCs.

A coalition of environmental NGOs, comprising the Environmental Investigation Agency, European Environmental Bureau, Greenpeace, World Wide Fund for Nature, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Climate Action Network Europe, Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, Natuur & Milieu, CDM Watch and ClientEarth, have written to EU climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, calling for a ban on HFC refrigerants in new equipment by 2020.

Industry group EPEE, however, has accused the group of basing its proposals on flawed data and an under estimation of safety and energy efficiency requirements.
'In order for industry to have the confidence to invest in alternatives, we need clear bans on the use of F-gases on a sector-by-sector basis,' said Environmental Investigation Agency climate campaigner Alasdair Cameron. 'The mostly European businesses providing alternatives need concrete timeframes for planning and investment purposes, something that a so-called 'economy-wide phase-down' will not provide.'

Andrea Voigt, director general of EPEE hit back: 'The NGOs have based their call for a phase-out on studies that have already been criticised for flawed data and significantly overestimating the market penetration potential for alternative refrigerants, thereby underestimating safety, but also energy efficiency requirements.'

EPEE favours a gradual phase-down scheme which would encourage the use of lower GWP refrigerants while leaving refrigerant choice.

'However, claiming a phase-out of HFCs by 2020 could however quickly turn out to be counter-productive in terms of overall emission reductions,' maintained Andrea Voigt. 

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