European Union continues to phase-down its use of climate-warming fluorinated gases

News Published 04 Feb 2020 Last modified 04 Feb 2020
2 min read
Image copyright: Alejandra Bize
The European Union remains on track in meeting the goal to phase-down the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases), according to updated data published by the European Environment Agency today.

The EEA report ‘Fluorinated greenhouse gases 2019’ assesses the data reported in 2019 by European companies on the production, import, export, destruction and feedstock use of F-gases until 2018. It looks at the progress made under both the ongoing EU-wide phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and the global HFC phase-down, which began in 2019 under the so-called Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.

F-gases are synthetic chemicals used in everything from refrigerators, heat pumps to air conditioners. The EEA report also details the different amounts of F-gases supplied for various industrial applications. These are expressed both in physical amounts (in tonnes) and in ‘global warming amounts’, i.e. physical amounts weighted by the global warming potential of hydrofluorocarbon gases and measured in CO2-equivalent tonnes (CO2e).

Phase-down under the EU F-Gas Regulation

As F-gases contribute to climate change, phasing-down their use has become an important part of the EU’s strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and become climate neutral. The F-gas Regulation aims at cutting the EU’s F-gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030 compared with 2014 levels.

The phase-down in the EU is being done through a system of annual quotas allocated to producers and importers. In 2018, the EU-wide quantity of HFCs placed on the market stayed below the overall market limit for the third year in a row, by 1%.

EU contribution to global phase-down

The EU’s HFC 'consumption' in 2018, as defined under the Montreal Protocol, was 46 % below the first limit set for the EU for 2019 under the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment.

Other key findings:

In addition to reduced use and imports, a substitution is taking place in favour of less climate-harming F-gases:

  • The volume of total supply of F-gases in the EU was 14 % lower in 2018 than in 2017, and the overall warming effect decreased by 30 % (CO2e). Refrigeration and air conditioning continue to be key applications.
  • Total imports of F-gases to the EU in 2018 decreased by 7 % compared with 2017 (25 % if measured in CO2e). Most of this decrease is due to lower HFC imports, and the remainder is caused by decreases in imports of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs).
  • Fluorinated greenhouse gas emissions have been decreasing in the EU since 2015, after 15 years of uninterrupted annual increases. In 2017, total fluorinated greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 2 %.

 

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