To control emissions from fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) the European Union has adopted two legislative acts: the "MAC Directive" on mobile air conditioning systems used in motor vehicles, and the "F-gas Regulation" which covers all other key applications in which F-gases are used.
The MAC Directive prohibits the use of F-gases with a global warming potential more than 150 times greater than carbon dioxide (CO2) in new types of cars and vans introduced from 2011 and in all new cars and vans produced from 2017.
The F-gas Regulation follows two tracks of action:
The Regulation has been supplemented by 10 implementing acts or "Commission Regulations" (see Documentation tab above). Furthermore, reporting provisions have been introduced to facilitate monitoring of the Regulation's measures and ensure that its objectives are being met.
Both the MAC Directive and the F-gas Regulation were adopted in 2006.
In November 2012 the European Commission proposed a revision of the F-gas Regulation that would tighten up its requirements. This followed a review of the adequacy of the Regulation, a public consultation in 2011 and an open stakeholder conference in 2012 on options for strengthening EU measures to reduce F-gas emissions in order to contribute to the transition to a low-carbon economy.
As proposed by the Commission, the revised Regulation would reduce F-gas emissions by two-thirds of today's levels by 2030 and ban the use of F-gases in some new equipment where viable climate-friendly alternatives are readily available.
It would introduce a phase-down measure which from 2015 would limit the total amount of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) – the most significant group of F-gases - sold in the EU and reduce this in steps to one-fifth of today's sales by 2030. This measure would build on the successful phase-out of ozone-depleting substances which was achieved in the EU 10 years ahead of the internationally agreed schedule.
The Commission's Roadmap for moving to a competitive low-carbon economy in 2050 envisages a reduction of emissions of over 70% by 2030 for the industrial sector that includes F-gases. The proposal is designed to achieve these savings, representing a cost-efficient contribution from the F-gas sector to the overall economic effort needed to avoid more costly consequences of climate change in the future.
The proposal also anticipates a global phase-down of consumption and production of HFCs, on the basis of proposals - supported by the EU - currently being discussed in the context of the Montreal Protocol. The proposal thus helps to promote consensus for a broader international agreement.
In addition, tackling HFC emissions is a priority for action under the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), which was established in 2012 and of which the Commission is a member. The G8 countries endorsed CCAC and agreed to join its efforts at their May 2012 meeting.