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

News Published 19 Dec 2018 Last modified 10 Dec 2019
2 min read
Photo: © EEA
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).

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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