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EU Parliament passes legislation to phase out HFCs

Date
13 March 2014
EU Parliament passes legislation to phase out HFCs

LONDON: The European Parliament has passed legislation to reduce fluorinated (F) gas emissions by two-thirds by 2030.

The new legislation places an EU wide ban on the use of F-gases in new fridges, air conditioners and other equipment, and in the long-term provides for the gradual removal of all hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from the EU.

Fluorinated gases are a group of greenhouse gases which have a significant negative impact on climate change. These dangerous gases exert a warming effect which can be 23,000 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. 

There was a wide consensus amongst MEPs that fluorinated gas emissions must be tacked, with 644 parliamentarians voting in favor of the legislation, and only 19 opposing. 16 MEPs abstained from the vote on the new European target.

The proposed law is in line with the Commission’s recommendations of 2012. However, the new legislation will need to be approved by the EU council before it is formally adopted.

Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, commented: "Today marks the beginning of the end for fluorinated gases in Europe. Not only is this good for the climate, but also for the European industries that will invest in more innovative, cleaner alternatives. And I really hope that other big emitters who have announced action to tackle these dangerous greenhouse gases will now follow Europe's example and also pass domestic legislation. This will send a clear signal about their commitment to tackle climate change."

Environmental groups such as the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and the European Environmental Bureau also endorsed the legislation as a positive step towards a more sustainable future. Clare Perry, Head of EIA’s Global Environment Campaign, stated: “This is a hugely encouraging lead from Europe in the fight against climate change. With the EU showing a progressive lead in this field, this decision should act as a catalyst for future international negotiations in pursuit of a global deal to address HFCs which, if achieved, could avoid emissions of up to 100 billion tons of CO2-equivalent by 2050.”

Image: Flickr/MPD01605 (Bobby Hiddy)

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By Alana Ryan

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