Globally, 197 countries are working to amend the international Montreal Protocol agreement to phase out HFCs. The phase-down could begin as early as this year.
HFCs are man-made chemicals, developed to replace chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) in refrigeration systems, which deplete the ozone layer and were banned in 1992 by the Montreal Protocol. While HFCs don’t deplete the ozone, when used as refrigerants, for example, in air conditioning systems in both vehicles and buildings, they are potent greenhouse gases. Depending on the exact type of HFC, they can be up to 20,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide — and have atmospheric lifetimes of up to 260 years. To control emissions from fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases), including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the European Union has adopted two legislative acts: the ’MAC Directive’ on air conditioning systems used in small motor vehicles, and the ‘F-gas Regulation’ which covers all other key applications in which F-gases are used.
Limiting the total amount of the most important F-gases that can be sold in the EU from 2015 onwards and phasing them down in steps to one-fifth of 2014 sales in 2030. This will be the main driver of the move towards more climate-friendly technologies
The F-gas Regulation anticipated a global phase-down of the consumption and production of HFCs under the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer.
The Regulation will also affect other markets, in particular countries exporting to the EU. Through increased demand for climate-friendly technologies, the new Regulation creates new business opportunities and will accelerate innovation and economies of scale in producing such technologies, thus lowering their costs. In this way, the Regulation helps to promote consensus on a broader international agreement.
While confirming the EU’s position as a global leader in taking strong measures on F-gases, the new legislation is also meant to inspire others to take action. A number of countries are already developing similar approaches. (source: ec.europe.eu)