Supermarket aisle with refrigerators

Key stakeholder meetings to discuss Europe’s landmark HFC legislation

This week, we and our partners will be attending two key meetings to discuss the phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the EU F-Gas Regulation.

On 6 March, the European Commission will host the third F-Gas Consultation Forum where member states, civil society and industry stakeholders will exchange views on several critical issues, including standards, training and illegal HFC trade.

The following day, we will be speaking at a European Parliament event co-hosted by the Greens, ALDE and S&D with support from Shecco and 3M – F-Gas Regulation shaking up the industry in Europe.

The F-Gas Regulation is a landmark piece of legislation adopted in 2014 to reduce the impact of climate-damaging HFCs. It stipulates a structured decrease in HFC supply by 79 per cent by 2030, with a major reduction from the baseline of 37 per cent this year. In 2017, in anticipation of the major supply cut in 2018, HFC prices skyrocketed and a number of industry groups across Europe have been sounding the alarm bell, claiming supply shortages and the need to relax the rules.

EIA has long been urging industry to speed up the transition away from HFCs. Our 7th Chilling Facts report highlighted the worrying lack of awareness of the impact of the HFC phase-down among European retailers, which are responsible for a large proportion of Europe’s HFC consumption. Although the F-Gas Regulation contains a number of bans on new HFC containing equipment, strong industry pushback during the negotiations resulted in the start date for the bans being set too late to operate as effective sign-posts for the industry to move in line with the cuts on HFC supply under the phase-down.

As noted by Arno Kaschl, of DG Clima, in the European Commission: “The intention of the EU’s F-Gas Regulation is to foster innovation using a market mechanism of increasing the scarcity of HFC supply. This approach was also favoured by many industry stakeholders wanting to avoid sectoral bans. It was never the intention that the accompanying prohibitions in the Regulation would be the principal driving force for change, as some stakeholders seemed to think until quite recently.”

These events will allow for a robust exchange of views and enable EIA and partners to advocate maintaining the ambition of the landmark HFC legislation.

A briefing by EIA, Climate Advisers Network, ECODES, ECOS, ZERO and Legambiente, circulated to governments ahead of the Consultation Forum, outlines a number of steps governments should be taking to support robust implementation of the F-Gas Regulation, including: mandatory training on natural refrigerant technologies; support for the revision of standards to allow the safe use of flammable refrigerants; promotion of climate-friendly cooling technologies through government public procurement and incentives; consideration of additional or earlier sectoral bans in key sectors; and the adoption of an HFC licensing system to help tackle illegal HFC trade and meet the requirements of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.