Ilmastotoimet

More climate-friendly alternatives to harmful greenhouse gases used in air-conditioning and switchgear

30/09/2020

The Commission has published two reports on more climate-friendly alternatives to the damaging F-gases used in split air-conditioning systems and in electrical switchgear.

The conventional technologies in these applications use fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases), which can stay in the atmosphere for centuries and have a particularly high warming effect. The gas typically used in switchgear, for instance, has a warming effect almost 23,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide (CO2).

The reports analyse the technical feasibility, reliability, energy-efficiency and cost of different solutions, and identify how long it could take to make these alternatives widely available. Given the many different types of split air - conditioning systems and switchgear, there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution. The reports nonetheless show that workable alternatives for many applications already exist. In some cases, using the alternatives may incur higher costs and so it is likely that the EU will need to take additional policy measures to promote these solutions.

Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases requires the Commission to prepare these reports. The findings will serve as input to the review of the EU rules on fluorinated greenhouse gases that the Commission launched in the context of the European Green Deal and the Climate Law proposal.

The review aims to ensure that the rules are consistent with the EU’s objective

of achieving a 55% net reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and becoming climate neutral by 2050. The review will also confirm EU obligations related to hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer. The Commission aims to propose a new F-gas Regulation by the end of 2021.

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