A stakeholder workshop, hosted by the European Fluorocarbon industry, discussed possible plans by the European Commission to regulate the use of fluorinated gases on 16 April. In an open and transparent debate, the representatives of European Fluorocarbon Technical Committee (EFCTC) and the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) expressed their doubts over some of the Commission’s intentions, pointing to the positive energy effiency and safety aspects of the use of these gases.
The plans to regulate F-gases incoporate the conclusions of
stakeholder consultations held under the auspices of the European
Climate Change Programme (ECCP) from March 2000 until July 2001.
Under the ECCP, a special working group involving Member States,
industry, NGOs and other stakeholders, issued several
recommendations. These covered:
- improved monitoring and verification of F-gases emissions;
- improved containment;
- marketing and use restrictions for certain applications.
The main issues raised during the F-gases workshop related to:
- the balance between the F-gases’ high Global Warming Potential
and the improvement they offer for energy efficiency and safety,
thereby making a positive contribution to climate change;
- the flammability and toxicity of alternative fluids (ammonia,
hydrocarbons) making them less safe than F-gases;
- command-and-control regulation versus voluntary agreements with
the F-gases industry to reduce emissions;
- Member States initiatives (Denmark already has legislation,
banning certain F-gases uses from 2006; Austria is planning new
legislation) versus the requirements of the internal market;
- European industry competitiveness if the EU were to become the
only economic bloc to regulate the use of F-gases: with possibly
substantial growth of F-gases emissions in China and other
developing countries, what would be the effectiveness of EU
measures in the global global warming problem?