EU co-legislators to start negotiating the Regulation aiming to reduce emissions of F-gases in the EU

04 October 2013, Last updated at, 14:05 EEST
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F-gases are used in a variety of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment | author: PantherMedia/Scanpix

The Committee of Permanent Representatives (COREPER I) agreed on a mandate for the Lithuanian Presidency to negotiate the Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on fluorinated greenhouse gases.

The Chair of COREPER I ambassador Arūnas Vinčiūnas noted, that reaching an agreement by co-legislators before the end of this year will allow early implementation of the Regulation, including its phase down schedule. Moreover, the ambassador underlined that, the EU work on the reduction of F-gas emissions is also an important signal in the context of the upcoming international negotiations under the Montreal Protocol and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

The mandate will allow the Lithuanian Presidency to start negotiations with the Parliament with a view to agreeing on a clear regulatory framework ensuring substantial reduction of fluorinated greenhouse gases in cost effective manner and at the same time giving clear signals for development to the industry.

The first trilogue of co-legislators will be held on 7 October.

Background

On 7 November 2012 the European Commission submitted the proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on fluorinated greenhouse gases. The Irish Presidency started working on the proposal in the Council, and the work has been continued by the Lithuanian Presidency. On 19 June 2013 the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety of the European Parliament voted  amendments to the  Commission proposal. The Economic and Social Committee adopted its opinion on 23 May 2013.

F-gases

According to the cost-effective pathway to decarbonise the EU economy, emissions of F-gases should be reduced in the order of 70-78% by 2050 and by 72-73% by 2030 at a marginal abatement cost of approximately €50 per tonne CO2 equivalent. In total, F-gases account for 2% of all greenhouse gases in the EU today but have a much more potent atmospheric warming potential than CO2. They are used in a variety of refrigeration and air‑conditioning equipment, in insulation foams and electrical equipment, in aerosol sprays, as solvents or in fire protection systems. Emissions occur mainly during emissive uses (of aerosol sprays or solvents for example) or due to leakage during the operation and disposal of products and equipment that contain F-gases.

Most F-gases have been developed by industry to replace ozone-depleting substances (ODS) that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol. Due to greater wealth and population growth, more products and equipment that rely on F-gases or ODS are sold. As a result, there has been a sharp increase worldwide in the production and use of F-gases since 1990 and will, if unaddressed, lead to considerable emissions into the atmosphere. Since products and equipment that contain F-gases often have a long life, if no action is taken today, high emissions that could have been prevented will continue for decades to come.

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