The Committee on Climate Change has appealed to the UK government to accelerate the pace of fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-gas) emission eradication.
Many refrigeration, fire protection and air conditioning and heat pump systems contain hydrofluorocarbons, a type of F-gas.
The independent government advisory group pointed out in its just-launched ‘Reducing UK emissions – 2019 Progress Report to Parliament’ that the government has still not published a plan to restrict the use of F-gases to very limited usage where there are currently no viable alternatives. That was originally due for release this spring, though the government says it is still slated for this year.
While the committee’s report did note that UK F-gas emissions fell by 6% from 2016 to 2017 to 15.0MtCO₂e, it believes that this is largely due to the EU-wide cap on the use of F-gases, particularly in refrigeration and air conditioning units.
This meant that F-gases were 3% of total UK emissions in 2017. But the climate change adviser urged that the longer term target should be to phase out F-gases.
The organisation also recorded a failing in reaching the F-gas reduction target it set in 2007. It recommended that these emissions should be reduced by 9% by 2018, but the actual drop was only 4%.
The report stated: “Our F-gas emissions indicator was not met. The main policy instrument, the EU F-gas regulation, only came into effect in 2015.”
The Committee on Climate Change helped to legislate a second carbon budget for the 2013-2017 period in its first report in 2008, recommending a maximum net carbon emission level of 2,782 MtCO2e for the UK.
Though the country actually met the overall total, posting a carbon emission total of 2,398MtCO2e, inside the budget by 384MtCO2e (around 14%), the committee believes the UK government could do more.
The advisory body summarised: “Overall, we conclude that UK policies did not deliver ahead of schedule in the second carbon budget period. Progress was mostly confined to sectors covered by the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). Outside the EU ETS policies fell short of our indicators and delivered well behind schedule in the second carbon budget period.”