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EU Agrees to Reduce Fluorinated Gases by Two-Thirds

European Union 18 December 2013: The Council of the EU's Committee of Permanent Representatives has agreed to reduce emissions of fluorinated gases (F-gases). The legislation includes a phase-down schedule that commits to a two-thirds reduction in F-gases emissions in Europe by 2030.

According to the European Commission (EC), the ambition level proposed by the Commission has been fully maintained by the agreement reached between the Council and the European Parliament. Specifically, the new legislation on F-gases: limits the total amount of the most important F-gases that can be sold in the EU, and phases down to one-fifth of today's sales in 2030; bans the use of F-gases including in refrigerators in homes or supermarkets, air conditioning, and foams and aerosols, for which less harmful alternatives are widely available; and prevents 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.

F-gases are a family of powerful greenhouse gases (GHGs) with a warming effect on the atmosphere of up to 23,000 times that of carbon dioxide (CO2). The EC says most of the commonly used F-gases are relatively short-lived in the atmosphere, meaning effective measures can contribute substantially to closing the mitigation gap.

Praising the decision, Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said she hopes the agreement “will give renewed political momentum to come to a global agreement on phasing down fluorinated gases under the Montreal Protocol.” [European Commission Press Release] [Commission Proposal]