Climate Action

EU phasedown of HFCs fully on track

19/12/2018

Companies have met the EU’s phasedown limit for hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) for the third year in a row, a new report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) shows.

The EU phasedown of HFCs – highly warming fluorinated gases (F-gases) – is implemented through a system of annual quotas allocated to producers and importers of these synthetic substances, used mainly as a coolant in refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

EU-wide placing on the market of HFCs in 2017 was 0.4% below the overall market limit set by the quota system, shows the EEA report published today.

The report on F-gas in 2017 indicates a substantial shift towards gases with a lower climate impact. While the actual use of F-gases in the EU increased by 3% in mass, the overall warming effect decreased by 2% (in CO2 equivalent).

From 2017, HFCs contained in cooling equipment have also been covered by the EU’s quota mechanism. As a result, the volume of imported F-gases contained in products and equipment last year was 8% lower than in 2016 – and the global warming potential (GWP) was 11% lower.

Globally, HFCs are regulated by the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which sets limits on production and consumption and will come into force on 1 January 2019. Due to the quota system in place since 2015, EU consumption of HFCs last year was already 12% below its 2019 target limit under the Kigali Amendment.

Phasing down F-gas emissions is an important part of the EU’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Under its F-gas Regulation, the EU is aiming to cut F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030, compared to 2014 levels. In 2015, EU F-gas emissions fell for the first time in 15 years. In 2016, HFCs further decreased by 0.1% .

Key findings of EEA report for 2017 (based on reporting by EU companies in 2018):

  • EU met its phasedown limit on HFCs for the third year in a row.
  • EU-wide placing on the market of HFCs in 2017 was 0.4% below the overall market limit set by the quota system.
  • The supply (reflecting actual use) of F-gases in the EU increased by 3% in mass, but the overall warming effect actually decreased by 2% (in CO2 equivalent), indicating a move towards gases with lower global warming potential.
  • The volume of imported gases contained in products and equipment last year was 8% lower than in 2016, and the GWP was 11% lower.
  • Both the volume and GWP of the production of F-gases – dominated by HFCs – declined by more than 10% from 2016 to 2017.

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