EU seeks to phase out planet-warming refrigerants

(EurActiv, 9 Nov 2020) The EU’s legislation on fluorinated gases, adopted in 2014, needs an overhaul “to increase ambition in line with the European Green Deal” and “better prevent” an ongoing surge of illegal imports coming from China, an EU official told EURACTIV.

Demand for F-gases, a family of chemicals used as a refrigerant, has increased steadily since they were introduced in the early 1990s to replace the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

But F-gases are also among the most potent greenhouse gases and are now also being phased out as a result.

Emissions of F-gases soared about 70% between 1990 and 2014, and peaked globally in 2015. They currently amount to 2.5% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Environment Agency.

Their impact on the earth’s climate is considerable. Fluorinated gases have a global warming potential (GWP) up to 23,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. Moreover, they can linger in the atmosphere up to 270 years in the case of HFCs, while sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs) can stay for millennia.

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EurActiv, 9 Nov 2020: EU seeks to phase out planet-warming refrigerants