Azione per il clima

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 ’MAC Directive’ on air conditioning systems used in small 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 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.

The F-gas Regulation follows two tracks of action:

  • Improving the prevention of leaks from equipment containing F-gases. Measures comprise:
    • containment of gases and proper recovery of equipment;
    • training and certification of personnel and of companies handling these gases, and
    • labeling of equipment containing F-gases.
  • Avoiding the use of F-gases where environmentally superior alternatives are cost-effective. Since 2015 the volume of HFCs which can be placed on the EU market is subject to quantitative limits which have been phased down over time. In addition, measures include restrictions on the marketing and use of certain products and equipment containing F-gases.

New F-gas Regulation from 2015

The original F-gas Regulation, adopted in 2006, has been replaced by a new Regulation applying since 1 January 2015. The implementing Regulations of the original Regulation remain in force and continue to apply until new acts are adopted.

The new F-Gas Regulation  has strengthened the existing measures and introduced a number of far-reaching changes by:

  • L imiting 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 new 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.

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.

The Commission has prepared guidance documents outlining the obligations for users and technicians of refrigeration, air conditioning and heatpumps as well as an FAQ document for companies reporting on F-gases under the new regulation (EU No 517/2014).

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

The EU Member States are responsible for implementing Regulation (EU) No 517/2014. For clarfication and enforcement issues, please get in touch with  the relevant contact in your Member State.

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.

This 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 established as 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: Safety Standards, Training and Technology Assessment

Study on alternatives for high ambient temperatures (2014)

Preparatory study with technical annexes (2011)

Other related studies

2013

2012

2009

Older studies