EU goal on phase-down of F-gases remains on track

News Published 19 Dec 2018 Last modified 18 Dec 2018
2 min read
Updated data reported by industry shows the European Union’s goal to phase-down the use of fluorinated greenhouse-gases (F-gases) remained on track in 2017, according to the latest annual update published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

 Image © EEA

The EEA report ‘Fluorinated greenhouse gases 2018’ assesses progress made under an EU-wide phase-down in the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) over the past year. These man-made chemicals are used in everything from refrigerators, heat pumps to air conditioners. The report also tracks progress towards the global HFC phase-down under the so-called Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol which enters into force in 2019. The report gives the amount of F-gases supplied to industry and assesses both the physical amounts (in tonnes) and in amounts weighted by the global warming potential of hydrofluorocarbon gas, which is measured in CO2-equivolent tonnes (CO2e).

F-gases were introduced over past decades to replace other chemicals that were found to be harmful to the earth’s ozone layer. However, F-gases contribute to climate change so phasing down their use has become an important part of the EU’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Compared with 2014 levels, the F-gas Regulation aims at cutting the EU’s F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030.

Phase-down of HFCs under the EU F-Gas Regulation

The EU’s phase-down of F-gases is being done through a system of annual quotas allocated to producers and importers. In 2017, the EU-wide placing on the market of HFCs stayed below the overall market limit for the third year in a row, by 0.4 %.

EU Contribution to the global phase-down under the Kigali Amendment

The HFC 'consumption' in 2017, in terms of the Montreal Protocol definition, was 12 % below the first limit set for the EU for 2019 under the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment.

Other key figures:

  • The supply (reflecting the actual use) of F-gases in the EU increased by 3 % in mass, but the overall warming effect decreased by 2 % (CO2e).  This indicates a move towards gases with lower global warming potential. Refrigeration and air conditioning continue to be key applications.
  • Imports of F-gases to the EU in 2017 increased by 21 % compared with 2016 or by 8 % if measured in CO2e.  This much lower increase in terms of CO2eq reflects a doubling of HFCs with low global warming potential.
  • EEA data on greenhouse gas emissions shows that F-gas emissions, in CO2e, declined in the EU in 2015 and 2016, after 13 years of continuous increases.


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