Industry welcomes UN report on F-gases

A newly released IPCC report has been embraced by manufacturers of chemical substances known as F-gases as it confirms that containment and not phase-out is the best policy option.

Two business associations of F-gases manufacturers hailed the UN report as it confirmed the benefits of containment measures during their use and of recovery at end of life. 

The EU has been regulating F-gases since 2003. The Commission’s proposals also endorses containment of these fluorocarbons as the best policy option but also foresee a phase-out of HFC-134a in car air conditioning (see EURACTIV’s LinksDossier on F-gases and climate change). The European Parliament is expected to undertake a second reading of the F-gases proposals in September/October 2005.

The European Fluorocarbon Technical Committee (EFCTC) pointed to the IPCC report's conclusion that the contribution of HFCs to climate change will remain below 1% by 2015. The European Commission estimated in 2003 that emissions from F-gases would account for up to 4% by 2010.

Vice-chairman of the EFCTC, Tim Vink, stated that the report shows that energy efficiency and containment of fluorocarbons are the best options for policy makers. "Besides being profitable, energy efficiency improvements can have a major impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and the whole industry is already working to deliver these improvements using HFCs, achieving much improved efficiencies compared to 5 years ago," said Vink.

The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE) which represents businesses involved in the manufacture of equipment using HFCs, also estimated that the IPCC report "validates the approach of containment and responsible use as the way to reduce greenhouse gases". 

The UN's IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) published the policymakers summary of a report on the interaction of ozone-protecting chemical substances and climate change on 11 April (see EURACTIV 12 April 2005) . 

The report confirmed that fluorinated gases such as HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) and PFCs (perfluorocarbons) have contributed significantly to a reduction of atmospheric chlorine loading, which should lead to a recovery of the ozone layer in the near future. However, the report also pointed to the climate change effects of these F-gases and recommended policy options for the policymakers to keep the negative effects of climate change under control.

The Commission's draft regulation on F-gases is expected to have a second reading in the European Parliament in September/October 2005.

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