Éghajlat-politika

EU legislation to control F-gases

Policy

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

Consequences of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom on the EU rules on F-Gases

The withdrawal of the United Kingdom took effect on 1 February 2020. From that date, the United Kingdom is a third country.

Since the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, the F-gas Regulation continues to apply to Northern Ireland as stipulated in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland.

For more information please consult the notice to stakeholders ‘Withdrawal of the United Kingdom and EU rules in the field of fluorinated greenhouse gases’.

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 Commission is in the process of reviewing the current F-gas Regulation (see below).

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

  • 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;
  • 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 and foams and aerosols;
  • 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 with 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.

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.

In addition, tackling HFC emissions is a priority of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-Lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC), of which the Commission is a member.

Similarly, the G20 countries have recognised the need to act on HFCs.

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

Review of the EU F-gas Regulation

The Commission is currently reviewing Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 (the ‘F-gas Regulation’).

This review will evaluate how well the Regulation has functioned, following the standard framework for evaluation of EU policies by examining its relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value.

The review will also analyse policy options to improve the Regulation going forward, in view of:

This review includes a number of consultation activities, notably an open online public consultation, consultation of targeted stakeholder groups and a stakeholder workshop.

Process

The Commission launched the review in July 2020 with the publication of a roadmap, the inception impact assessment. 76 stakeholders submitted feedback on this roadmap.

An open public consultation is ongoing until 29 December 2020.

Next steps

Based on the results of the consultations and the work of external experts, the Commission will draw up a joint evaluation and impact assessment to examine if and how it can further improve the Regulation in the coming years. A Commission proposal for a new Regulation is expected by end of 2021.

For further information, please contact CLIMA-HFC-Registry@ec.europa.eu.

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