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Fight this ban!

CEDRIC Sloan, director general of the manufacturers association FETA, has called on the industry to lobby their MPs and MEPs in an effort to overturn amendments to the F-Gas regulations which could see the banning of HFCs throughout Europe by 2010.
Fight this ban!

The decisions voted on at the second reading included phase-outs of HFCs in domestic refrigeration (four years after the entry into force), on commercial refrigeration and air conditioning in 2010 and in all foams in 2009.
It also included a change of the legal basis to the single environment, which would allow Denmark and Austria to keep their existing bans and allow other countries to do the same in the future. This was contrary to the dual environment and internal market legal base as earlier approved by ministers.
Hope of overturning these amendments now rests on a European Parliament plenary vote sometine during the week beginning October 24.
EPEE (The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment), which was present at the vote, described the outcome as 'a step back for sensible policy making on climate change.'
Cedric Sloan, director general of FETA, clearly annoyed at the Committee's stance, said 'This is political bargaining and they don't understand the consequences. How is the NHS, for instance, going to be able to afford to replace every HFC installation in its hospitals by 2010?'
Speaking afterwards, EPEE director general Friedrich Busch stated: 'We urge the European Parliament as a whole to reject the Environment Committee's report on F-gases.
'The Committee adopted a raft of amendments which will make a range of appliances using F-gases illegal without consideration of their likely negative impact, high costs and consequences,' said an EPEE statement. The amendments also include a ban on all domestic refrigerators (with a charge of less than 150 grams) and a phase-out of HFCs in foams by 2009.
'These bans are disproportionate and technologically prescriptive,' added EPEE.
'The draft law will deliver substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Committee's obsession with legal base and bans will add unnecessary and unjustified costs with little real environmental benefit.'
Cedric Sloan was similarly forthright when ACR News interviewed him the day after the vote. Describing the vote as 'blatant political manoeuvring,' he said 'Everything proposed yesterday runs contrary to what the Council of Ministers have previously approved and contrary to the advice of the European Commissioners.'
Speaking to ENDS, the Environment Daily, the Parliament's rapporteur MEP on the legislation, Avril Doyle, dismissed complaints that a single legal base would fragment the market in F-gases. 'With respect, industry's protests are nonsense,' she is quoted as saying before the vote. 'We employ a legal opinion and we should listen to our legal opinion,' she said, referring to a recommendation prepared by the parliament's legal service earlier this year.
Not surprisingly, the vote delighted environmental groups and countries such as Denmark and Austria which have already banned HFCs.
Greenpeace described the vote as 'a major result for climate protection.......which promises to restrict the use and release of harmful global warming gases.
'Until now, the chemicals industry has succeeded in blocking the replacement of these potent greenhouse gases. Today's decision is a victory in the battle against global warming, and vindicates those progressive countries and companies that have already switched to climate-friendly alternatives,' said Mahi Sideridou of Greenpeace.
Opponents of the ban argue that these further amendments are actually having a detrimental effect on the environment by delaying implementation and the legal enforcement of a register of refrigerant handlers.
'This confrontational posturing will delay agreement well into next year,' claimed Cedric Sloan, 'and will probably now not come into effect until 2007,'
Talking about the regulations, Graeme Fox, chairman of the HVCA's Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Group said 'This was also supposed to pave the way for the long-awaited mandatory refrigerant handling scheme.'
The HVCA established a voluntary scheme over a decade ago, in recognition of the importance of controlling the transport and recovery of gases with global warming potential. 'The regulation was a source of great optimism,' he said, 'as it seemed that at last we would have statutory backing for making the scheme mandatory.
'Now, however, we are in a state of limbo. The plan was for the regulation to be formerly adopted at the end of this year and from then EU member states would have 18 months to put its measures into force. This timetable is in serious doubt now,' he added.

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