MEP weighs in on HFC refrigeration debate

The European Parliament’s draftsman has taken on the Commission’s “weak” proposal to revise legislation on fluorinated gases by proposing a comprehensive framework for addressing potent greenhouse gases.

The draft report by Dutch Green MEP Bas Eickhout tackles the Commission’s proposal of placing-on-the-market bans on equipment based on HFCs — super greenhouse gases with a global-warming impact hundreds or thousands of times greater than that of carbon dioxide.

Safe, cost-effective and energy-efficient alternatives are already on the market today. The report therefore inserts bans on new HFC-based equipment in all major sectors, including refrigeration, air-conditioning and foams — when these alternatives can fully meet the market demand.

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The draftsman also proposes to tighten the phase-down schedule under which the Commission had proposed to gradually reduce the amount of HFCs sold in the EU in order to do away with gross over-allocation of HFC allowances given to companies.

In addition, producers and importers will be required to pay an allocation fee for the HFC allowances they require in line with the ‘polluter pays’ principle.

Susanna Ala-Kurikka, EEB policy officer for energy and climate, said: “HFC allowances are a valuable commodity and should not be handed out for free. The proceeds could be used to help cash-strapped governments to implement the legislation and to support small companies in their compliance efforts.”

She added: “After the disappointing proposal from the Commission, this provides a great basis to kick-start the debate in the Parliament. MEPs must now use the coming months to inject the necessary ambition into the regulation to ensure that Europe can reap the economic and climate-related benefits of a strong alternatives industry.”

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