F-gases in cars’ air conditioning systems are to be banned from 2014, but will be maintained in refrigerators and other home equipment. Environmentalists say Parliament bowed to industry pressures.
The Parliament plenary on 31 March adopted the
Goodwill reporton the reduction of
F-gases emissions. MEPs had to decide on several issues that left
industry and environmental NGOs divided:
Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC): The plenary backed
a total ban of F-gases (HFC-134a) on all new cars’ air conditioning
systems as of 2014, with a phase-out period starting from 2011
instead of 2009 as proposed by the Parliament’s Environment
EURACTIV, 19 March
2004). The Commission’s proposed quota
system has therefore been abandoned altogether in favour of a gas
type approval approach (HFC-152a is to replace HFC-134a). However,
the plenary maintained the Environment Committee’s proposal to
lower the ban threshold on F-gases from 150 to 50 in terms of
global warming potential.
Cars’ air conditioning systems are generally considered to be
responsible for the greater part of F-gas leakages into the
atmosphere and was the most heavily disputed issue in the F-gases
Legal base: Parliament voted to base the
regulation on the internal market provisions of the EC Treaty
(Article 95), going against the Environment Committee’s position to
base it also on the environment (Article 175). With the environment
as a second legal base, Member States could have adopted stricter
national rules, thereby opening the possibility for manufacturers
to adapt to varying legal constraints across the EU.
Containment: The Parliament stuck with the initial
Commission proposal to apply a containment strategy on F-gases in
air-conditioning systems and refrigerators (stationary appliances).
Leakages from those appliances had raised concerns among
environmental NGOs but their views were not taken on board (see
EURACTIV, 19 March