next
previous
items

Indicator Assessment

Hydrofluorocarbon phase-down in Europe

Indicator Assessment
Prod-ID: IND-354-en
  Also known as: CSI 044 , CLIM 048
Published 16 Dec 2020 Last modified 11 May 2021
10 min read

After increasing for 13 years, fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas) emissions in the EU decreased for the first time in 2015, and fell by 5 % in 2018 compared to 2017. This can be partly attributed to the EU-wide hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) phase-down set out in the F-gas Regulation, which aims to reduce F-gas emissions and mitigate global warming. HFCs account for the majority of F-gas emissions and the EU is on track to meet targets and phase down HFC use by 2030. It is also on track to meet its international obligation to reduce HFC consumption, in effect since 2019, under the Montreal Protocol.

EU progress under the hydrofluorocarbon phase-down set out in the EU F-gas Regulation

Note: This graph shows the progress of the HFC phase-down under EU regulation. HFC, hydrofluorocarbon; POM, placing on the market; RACHP, refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump; Mt, million tonnes. Data shown for 2019 are preliminary and subject to further validation by the European Commission. Values from 2007 to 2013 are based on the reporting obligations of the old F-gas Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 and are therefore not fully comparable with data from 2014 onwards (based on the obligations of the new F-gas Regulation (EU) No 517/2014). The geographical scope of presented POM data is the EU-28 except Croatia for the period 2007-2008 and the EU-28 for the period 2009-2019. The maximum quantities of the EU HFC phase-down shown for 2019 onwards are given for the EU-28. EU-27 maximum quantities for 2021 onwards will need to be recalculated for the period after the Brexit transition period.

Data source:

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) — which include hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3) — contribute to global warming. These gases are used in a range of applications, but the refrigeration, air conditioning and heating sector account for the majority of F-gas use in the EU (Emissions and supply of fluorinated greenhouse gases in Europe, see figure 3). Between 1990 and 2014, emissions of F-gases in the EU increased by around 70 % overall and accounted for about 3 % of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Emissions and supply of fluorinated greenhouse gases in Europe, see Figure 1). This increase was largely due to the substitution of ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) with HFCs in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector and the growth of this sector as a whole. The F-gas Regulation (EU, 2014) aims to reduce F-gas emissions by two thirds of 2010 levels by 2030, by improving the leak-tightness of equipment, promoting the use of more environmentally friendly alternatives to F-gases and capping sales of HFCs on the EU market through an HFC phase-down.

In particular, the EU-wide HFC phase-down is expected to result in large reductions in F-gas use and emissions, as HFCs account for the vast majority of F-gas emissions (around 90 % in 2018). To place bulk HFC gases on the market, companies must hold sufficient quotas, which are expressed in tonnes of CO2 equivalents, to create an incentive to use gases with lower global warming potential. The quantity of HFCs placed on the market in the EU was particularly high in 2014 before the phase-down began, but since then has declined markedly, and was below the maximum quantity set by the F-gas Regulation in 2015 and in each year since (see Figure 1). Since 2017, HFCs in refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump equipment have also been covered by legally binding HFC phase-down quotas. Quotas are set to progressively decrease. the EU is on track to meet its targets and successfully phase down HFC use by 2030. The HFC phase-down under the EU F-gas Regulation is being implemented by annual quantitative limits (quotas) on the placing on the EU market of HFCs by producers and importers. The EU-wide maximum quantity for HFCs is subject to a stepwise reduction, as displayed in Figure 1. In 2019, EU-wide placing on the market (POM) of HFCs was 2 % below the 2019 overall market limit set by the quota system (1 % in 2017 and 2018).

Additional efforts have been undertaken at EU and Member State levels to reduce HFC leakage from refrigeration and air conditioning equipment, encourage the recovery of gases at the end of equipment lifetime, promote the use of non-HFC refrigerants and ban the use of HFCs for certain applications. Along with those efforts, the HFC phase-down process has, after 13 years of increases, had an impact on F-gas emissions, which have been decreasing since 2015 by about 1-3 % per year and fell by more than 6 % in 2018.

EU progress towards the worldwide hydrofluorocarbon consumption phase-down under the Montreal Protocol

Note: This graph shows the EU contribution to the global phase-down of HFCs under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which introduces limits to the consumption of HFCs, starting in 2019. HFC, hydrofluorocarbon; Mt, million tonnes. HFCs covered under the Montreal Protocol do not include HFC-161. A country’s baseline for the Montreal Protocol HFC phase-down is defined as the average HFC consumption during the period 2011-2013, plus 15 % of the HCFC baseline in 1989, all expressed in million tonnes (Mt) CO2 equivalent. As set out in the Montreal Protocol, the HCFC baseline also includes 2.8 % of 1989 chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) consumption. The geographical scope of presented HFC consumption data is the EU-28 except Croatia for the period 2007-2008 and the EU-28 for the period 2009-2019.

Data source:

At international level, HFC consumption is regulated under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol (UN, 1987; EC, 2018). In accordance with the 2016 amendment, coming into effect in 2019, developed and developing countries have committed to an HFC phase-down by meeting progressively decreasing HFC consumption targets so that their HFC consumption levels are 15 % of 2019 levels by 2036. The EU is well on track to comply with its obligations under the Montreal Protocol: by 2018, the EU’s HFC consumption was 43 % below its initial target for 2019 and, by 2019, it was 55 % below the target.

Supporting information

Indicator definition

Based on company-level data reported under Article 19 of Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 (EU F-gas Regulation), the indicator presents an assessment of the progress on EU HFC phase-down made under both EU legislation and the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

Units

The units used in this indicator are million tonnes of CO2 equivalent (MtCO2e)


 

Policy context and targets

Context description

Fluorinated gases contribute to global warming, and emissions of fluorinated gases, which are not covered by the Montreal Protocol, are included under the UNFCCC. Since 2015, emission reporting for the full time series since 1990 has been carried out in accordance with the 2006 IPCC guidelines and uses the global warming potentials (GWPs) of the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report (AR4). For a list of fluorinated gases reportable under the UNFCCC, please refer to the indicator definition. Companies reporting under the 'old' EU F-gas Regulation (Regulation (EC) No 842/2006, applicable from 2007-2014) and under the revised, ‘new’, F-gas Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 517/2014, applicable since 2015) must cover an extended list of fluorinated gases.

At European level, two key legislative instruments focus on fluorinated gases:

  1. Regulation No 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation No 842/2006 (F-gas Regulation);
  2. Directive 2006/40/EC relating to emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles (MAC Directive).

 

The F-gas Regulation takes several approaches to reducing F-gas emissions:

  •  It aims to improve the 'leak-tightness' of equipment containing F-gases. Related measures comprise labelling equipment containing fluorinated gases, the training and certification of personnel and companies that handle these types of gases, the containment of gases within equipment and the proper recovery of gases from equipment that is no longer in use.
  • It promotes avoiding the use of fluorinated gases in applications for which more environmentally superior alternatives are cost effective. Related measures include restrictions on the use and marketing of fluorinated gases in such cases.
  • Large reductions in F-gas use and emissions are expected to result from a new measure that will progressively cap allowed sales of HFCs on the EU market ('phase-down').

The MAC Directive requires the gradual phase-out of F-gases with a GWP of >150 in new systems in the period 2011-2017 in the EU.

At global level, the Montreal Protocol was amended to regulate HFCs in October 2016 in Kigali, Rwanda (the 'Kigali Amendment'). Both developed and developing countries have taken on mandatory commitments to reduce the production and consumption of HFCs in the next three decades. Under the amended protocol, for the EU and other developed countries, HFC consumption is limited to 90 % of the baseline starting in 2019, with further reduction steps planned until 15 % of the baseline is reached from 2036 onwards.

The 'new' F-Gas Regulation 517/2014 maintains many measures of the 'old' F-Gas Regulation 842/2006, in particular related to leak prevention, recovery, certification of technicians and selected restrictions on the use and marketing of F-gases. Large reductions in F-gas use and emissions are expected from a new measure, which will progressively cap allowed sales of HFCs on the EU market ('phase-down'). Reductions are also expected from bans of F-gases with a high Global Warming Potential (GWP).

Targets

Under the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement, no separate targets for F-gases have been specified.

In the EU context, the revised, 'new', F-gas Regulation (Regulation (EU) No 517/2014) aims to reduce emissions by two thirds of the 2010 level by 2030.

Related policy documents

  • Directive 2006/40/EC
    Directive 2006/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 relating to emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles and amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC
  • EU 2017/1541 Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol
    COUNCIL DECISION (EU) 2017/1541 of 17 July 2017 on the conclusion, on behalf of the European Union, of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol on substances that deplete the ozone layer
  • Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases
    The 'old' F-gases 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; labeling of equipment containing F-gases; reporting on imports, exports and production of F-gases.  Avoiding F-gases in some applications where environmentally superior alternatives are cost-effective. Measures include restrictions on the marketing and use of certain products and equipment containing F-gases. The Regulation has been supplemented by 10 implementing acts or 'Commission Regulations' (see Documentation tab above). Furthermore, reporting provisions have been introduced to facilitate monitoring of the Regulation's measures and ensure that its objectives are being met.
  • Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation (EC) No 842/2006
    The 'new' F-Gas Regulation 517/2014 maintains many measures of the 'old' F-Gas Regulation 842/2006, in particular related to leak prevention, recovery, certification of technicians and selected restrictions on the use and marketing of F-gases. Large reductions in F-gas use and emissions are expected from a new measure, which will progressively cap allowed sales of HFCs on the EU market ('phase-down'). Reductions are also expected from bans of F-gases with a high Global Warming Potential (GWP).
  • The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
    The Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer: The  Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
 

Methodology

Methodology for indicator calculation

For progress under the EU HFC phase-down, placing on the market (POM) is calculated as follows for all HFCs and mixtures containing HFCs, with physical mass converted into CO2 equivalents using the GWPs of the IPCC’s AR4:

  • quota-relevant POM = quota-relevant physical POM + issued authorisations + imported RACHP equipment, where not covered by quota authorisations held by the importer, and where:
    • quota-relevant physical POM (relevant starting 2015) = physical POM as given in section 4M of the reporting questionnaire - exempted quantities as given in section 5J of the reporting questionnaire;
    • issued authorisations (relevant starting 2015) are those given in section 9A of the reporting questionnaire;
    • imported RACHP equipment, where not covered by quota authorisations held by the importer (relevant starting 2017) = calculated amount of imported HFCs in need of authorisation to use HFC quota (as given in section 13D of the reporting questionnaire) - available authorisations, including delegations of authorisations (as given in section 13A of the reporting questionnaire).

Under the Montreal Protocol, the HFC phase-down is based on reducing HFC consumption. Consumption is calculated as production + bulk imports - bulk exports - destruction - feedstock use of HFCs.

All information provided to the European Commission and the EEA on transactions of F-gases in the EU is treated as strictly confidential. The Commission and the EEA have established procedures to ensure that all of the data relating to individual companies will be kept strictly confidential. No company-specific information is disclosed to the public; all company data are aggregated before publication. These procedures limit the release of data that might significantly rely on reports from less than three company groups. To this end, company groups that contribute less than 5 % do not count towards the 'three-company rule'. Concerns over confidentiality can be addressed to the European Commission or to the entity designated by the European Commission.

Methodology for gap filling

Not applicable.

Methodology references

No methodology references available.

 

Uncertainties

Methodology uncertainty

Not applicable.

Data sets uncertainty

Not applicable.

Rationale uncertainty

Not applicable.

Data sources

Other info

DPSIR: Driving force
Typology: Policy-effectiveness indicator (Type D)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 044
  • CLIM 048
Frequency of updates
Updates are scheduled once per year
EEA Contact Info info@eea.europa.eu

Permalinks

Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage

Dates

Topics

Document Actions