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Council of European Union endorses agreement on reducing emissions of fluorinated gases for GHG reduction

The Council of the European Union’s Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER) endorsed an agreement on the European Commission’s 2012 proposal significantly to reduce emissions of fluorinated gases (F-gases), which are potent greenhouse gases. The warming effect of F-gases on the atmosphere is up to 23,000 times stronger than CO2.

The Council of the European Union, comprising European national ministers, holds legislative and some limited executive powers. The European Commission is responsible for drafting all EU law.

The new legislation on fluorinated gases (F-gases) will:

  • Reduce F-gas emissions in the EU by two-thirds of today’s levels by 2030.

  • Limit the total amount of the most important F-gases that can be sold in the EU, and reduce this in steps to one-fifth of today’s sales in 2030 (“phase-down” measure).

  • Ban the use of F-gases in some equipment, such as refrigerators in homes or supermarkets, in air conditioning, in foams and aerosols; less harmful alternatives are widely available today.

  • Prevent emissions of F-gases from existing equipment by requiring controls, proper servicing and recovery of the gases at the end of the equipment’s life.

  • Facilitate a future global agreement to phase down the use of F-gases under the Montreal Protocol.

F-gases are increasingly used in the EU and world-wide, for example in equipment for refrigeration and air conditioning, insulation foams, electrical equipment, aerosol sprays and fire protection. F-gases leak into the atmosphere from production plants and from appliances in which they are used—both during their working life and when they are thrown away.

F-gas emissions in the EU have risen by 60% since 1990 while all other greenhouse gases (GHGs) have been reduced. Today F-gases account for roughly 2% of GHG emissions world-wide, and will rise significantly if effective measures are not taken.

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