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Climate Action

EU legislation to control F-gases

To control emissions from fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases), including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), the European Union has adopted two legislative acts: the F-gas Regulation and the MAC Directive.

F-gas Regulation from 2015

Following the UK's withdrawal, the F-gas Regulation continues to apply to Northern Ireland as stipulated in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

The current F-gas Regulation, which applies since 1 January 2015, replaces the original F-gas Regulation adopted in 2006. The implementing Regulations of the original Regulation remain in force and continue to apply until new acts are adopted.

The current Regulation strengthened the previous measures and introduced far-reaching changes by:

  • Limiting the total amount of the most important F-gases (HFCs) 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;
  • Banning the use of F-gases in many new types of equipment where less harmful alternatives are widely available, such as fridges in homes or supermarkets, air conditioning, foams and asthma sprays;
  • Preventing emissions of F-gases from existing equipment by requiring checks, proper servicing and recovery of the gases at the end of the equipment's life.

These measures were built on the successful phase-out of ozone-depleting substances which was achieved in the EU 10 years ahead of the internationally agreed schedule.

Thanks to the F-gas Regulation, the EU’s F-gas emissions will be cut by two-thirds by 2030 compared to 2014 levels.

Given that climate-friendly alternatives are available for many of the products and equipment in which F-gases are commonly used, this ambitious reduction is achievable at relatively low cost. It also offers opportunities of driving innovation in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector.

Review of the EU F-gas Regulation and the new Commission proposal

On 5 April 2022, the Commission made a legislative proposal to update Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 (the ‘F-gas Regulation’). This proposal will now be negotiated by the co-legislators in the European Parliament and the Council.

The Commission is proposing to align the F-gas Regulation with:

The review is intended, in particular, to:

  • Deliver higher ambition e.g. through a tighter quota system for HFCs (HFC phase-down): reduce the amount of HFCs placed on the market by 98% by 2050 (compared to 2015). New restrictions on the use of F-gases in equipment are also included.
  • Ensure compliance with the Montreal Protocol, e.g. making phase-down steps also after 2030 and ending certain exemptions to the EU’s HFC phase-down that do not exist under the Montreal Protocol.
  • Improve enforcement and implementation, e.g. by making it easier for customs and surveillance authorities to control imports and exports. A quota price will be introduced, and penalties will become harsher and more homogenous across the EU.
  • Achieve more comprehensive monitoring, e.g. by covering a broader range of substances and activities and improving the procedures for reporting and verifying data.

On this basis, the Commission has chosen a package of measures that will prevent emissions amounting to 40 MtCO2e by 2030 and 310 MtCO2e by 2050, on top of the amount the current Regulation would achieve. The package will also safeguard Montreal Protocol compliance and better enforcement and monitoring.

On the basis of an evaluation of the current F-gas Regulation, an extensive impact assessment of measures that could improve the Regulation was carried out. An external preparatory study was also contracted by the Commission to support this work.

This review is based on extensive consultation activities:

Key documents:

International action

While confirming the EU's position as a global leader in taking strong measures on F-gases, this legislation is also meant to inspire others to take action. The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol was agreed at global level in 2016 and includes obligatory HFC phase-down schedules for all countries of the world. It is expected to reduce global warming by up to 0.4 degrees Celsius.

Guidance

Guidance documents outlining the obligations under the F-gas Regulation and information for companies on reporting on F-Gases are available.

As the thresholds for obligations in the Regulation are given in CO2 equivalents, a calculation tool is available to translate tonnes CO2 equivalents into metric tonnes.

The EU Member States are responsible for implementing the F-gas Regulation. For clarification and enforcement issues, please get in touch with the relevant contact in your Member State.

MAC Directive

The MAC Directive prohibits the use of F-gases with a global warming potential of 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.

Consultation Forum

A Consultation Forum is mandated by the F-gas Regulation.

Its mission is to provide advice and expertise to the Commission in relation to the implementation of the F-gas Regulation, in particular with regard to the availability of alternatives to fluorinated greenhouse gases, including the environmental, technical, economic and safety aspects of their use.

The Forum consists of experts from national authorities, transnational industry associations, NGOs and international organisations. Representatives of single companies or associations of a single country are not invited to the group. Additional experts may be invited on an ad hoc basis according to the topics to be discussed at the relevant meeting.

The Forum is a permanent expert group of the European Commission. More information can be found in the official register of Commission Expert Groups.

The Commission calls meetings when technical input from stakeholders is required for the implementation of the F-gas Regulation.

Meetings of the Forum

Documentation

International

2014 F-gas Regulation

2006 F-gas Regulation

F-gas Regulation: Implementing Acts

To ensure a smooth transition from the old regime to the new regime, Commission Regulations (EC) 1497/2007, (EC) No 1516/2007, (EC) No 304/2008, (EC) No 306/2008 and (EC) No 307/2008 remain in force and continue to apply unless and until repealed by delegated or implementing acts adopted by the Commission pursuant to the 2014 F-gas Regulation.

MAC Directive

Studies

    Reports: Climate-Friendly alternatives in Air Conditioning and Switchgear as well as HFC availability on the EU market

    Reports: Safety Standards, Training and Technology Assessment

    Study on alternatives for high ambient temperatures (2014)

    Preparatory study with technical annexes (2011)

    Other related studies

    2019

    2013

    2012

    2009

    Older studies

    Impact assessment

    (tbc)