Fluorinated gases continue to be phased down in Europe

News Published 13 Dec 2016 Last modified 13 Dec 2016
2 min read
Photo: © Filip Bramorski /Flickr
The production, import and export of fluorinated-gases (F-gases) continued to decline in the European Union, according to a new report published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). F-gases, which are mainly used in cooling and heating equipment, have a high global warming potential and their phase-down is therefore essential to global efforts to mitigate climate change.

F-gases were in many cases introduced to replace chemicals that were found to be harming the ozone layer. Currently, F-gases are mainly used in refrigerators, heat pumps and air-conditioning equipment in buildings and in cars.

The EEA report ‘Fluorinated greenhouse gases 2015’ tracks progress towards the EU target of reducing F-gas emissions by two thirds by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. According to the report, the production, imports, exports and supply of F-gases in the EU decreased in 2015, both in physical amounts as well as in amounts weighted by the global warming potential of the gas in question, measured in CO2-equivalent tonnes (CO2-eq.).

The F-gas share of the global warming potential of the EU’s overall greenhouse gas emissions was 3 % in 2014, but this share has been on the increase. Curbing F-gas emissions is therefore an important part of the EU’s overall commitment to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by 40 % by 2030, compared to 1990 levels.

Large reductions in F-gas use and emissions are expected from a new phase-down measure, which will progressively cap the sales of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) on the EU market down to 21 % of baseline levels by 2030. Furthermore, bans on the use of F-gases that have a high global warming potential are expected to result in additional reductions.

The Montreal Protocol to reduce the production and consumption of ozone depleting substances was amended to regulate HFCs, in October 2016, in Kigali, Rwanda. Both developed and developing countries have taken on mandatory commitments to reduce production and consumption of HFCs in the next three decades.

Key findings of ‘Fluorinated greenhouse gases 2015’, based on reporting by companies in the EU:

  • Production of F-gases in the EU declined by 5 % (as CO2-eq.) in 2015.
  • F-gas imports to the EU decreased by about 40 %, compared with the exceptionally high amounts reported in 2014 (both by weight and as CO2-eq.).
  • EU exports of F-gases decreased by 2 % (by weight) or 1 % (CO2-eq.) compared with 2014. However, compared to 2013, exports in 2015 increased by 18 % (by weight) and 23 % (CO2-eq.).
  • Supply of F-gases in the EU decreased by about 24 % (by weight and as CO2-eq.) since 2014.


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