Coloured containers containing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

Spanish refrigeration industry seeks to pull the teeth of EU climate action on HFCs

The Spanish refrigeration body Asociación de Empresas de Frío y sus Tecnologías (AEFYT) has called on the country’s Government to help it continue using climate-harmful hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Such a move would run completely contrary to the intention of the revised EU F-Gas Regulation, adopted in April 2014, which is actively aiming to reduce consumption of HFCs in Europe by at least 79 per cent by 2030.

A key measure to achieve its goals is the HFC phase-down that progressively restricts the supply of HFC chemicals placed on the European market.

HFCs are a family of super greenhouse gases, known as fluorinated or F-gases, which are widely used in refrigeration and air-conditioning and yet are often thousands of times more harmful to the climate than CO2

AEFYT this week warned of a “critical” looming shortage of R404A and R507A refrigerants and has appealed to the Spanish Government to reduce taxes on HFCs.

Spanish industry is not alone in seeking to undermine or weaken the F-gas phase-down – last week, three of Germany’s leading air-conditioning and refrigeration associations demanded meetings with its government over refrigerant shortages, while Italian associations have called on the Italian competition authority to investigate what they describe as “unjustified” and “disproportionate” increases in refrigerant prices.

Clare Perry, EIA Climate Campaign leader, said: “It is disappointing to see these companies attempting to derail the phase-down process, especially as European industry has known it was coming for three-and-a-half years.

“The importance of doing all we can to combat the impacts of climate change can’t be overstated and taking out HFCs in favour of switching to ‘natural’, less harmful refrigerants has long been the lowest-hanging fruit and the simplest way of making a major impact in reducing emissions.

“Now that the phase-down is actually beginning to bite, it would be utterly self-defeating if Member States begin to give their own domestic sectors a pass at the expense of the world’s climate.”