Tough new measures to control and ban greenhouse gases used in refrigeration and air conditioning are on their way if EU lawmakers follow the opinion of the Parliament’s environment committee.

Member states could be allowed to adopt stricter national legislation to curb emissions of F-gases from fridges and air-conditioners if the Parliament follows the advice of its environment committee which came out on 11 October. 

In their vote on the report from Avril Doyle MEP (EPP-ED, Ireland), MEPs chose to base the regulation for so-called 'stationary applications' (fridges, air conditioning, etc.) solely on the environmental provisions of the EU treaty (article 175).

This means individual EU nations can adopt stricter legislation to reduce F-gases emissions than required under EU law, thereby potentially opening the way for manufacturers to have to adapt to different legislation as they sell their products across the EU.

Under the new version of the text, selective bans on F-gases will apply in the following way:

  • 1 January 2006: HFCs used in aerosols
  • 1 January 2006: SF6 as a trace gas
  • 1 January 2008: SF6 in all applications except switchgears
  • 1 January 2009: all F-gases in composite foams
  • 1 January 2010: all F-gases in stationary air-conditioning
  • 1 January 2010: HFCs in commercial and industrial refrigeration
  • Four years after entry into force: HFCs in household refrigeration

Moreover, MEPs recommended that substitutes to F-gases be used wherever they are available and safe from a technical and environmental point of view. 

On the separate directive on car's air conditioning systems, no major changes were introduced. The bill provides for the following:

  • Between 2011 and 2013: phase-out of the use of HFC-134a.
  • By 2017: Every new vehicle will have to use alternatives