EUROPE: The European Commission is seeking feedback from the market on the forthcoming review of the F-gas regulations (517/2014) which could place further restrictions on HFC refrigerants.
In a number of possible moves, the Commission is looking to align the F-gas regulations more closely to the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment, implementing further usage restrictions, seeking greater enforcement of the regulations and clamping down on illegal imports and quota abuses.
The Commission fears that the EU will be at risk of becoming non-compliant with the Montreal Protocol after 2030. While the EU’s F-gas phase down is in front of the Kigali Amendment, it is designed to achieve an 80% cut by 2030. Under the Montreal Protocol the last reduction step is 85% in 2036. The policy options being considered would seek alignment with the Montreal Protocol by adding new phase-down steps beyond 2030.
There are also some exemptions and thresholds under the F-gas regulations that do not exist under the Montreal Protocol rules and specific limitations on production required by the Protocol are not part of the EU rules on F-gases.
It has also been observed that recent technological developments and availability of more climate friendly technologies may permit further restrictions on HFC usage. Revisions could include prohibiting the use of F-gases in products or equipment, where it is considered that these gases are no longer needed or lower GWP alternatives are available.
To counter the problems of illegal imports and abuses of the quota system, the Commission is looking to provide greater powers to customs and surveillance authorities. This includes a link to the Single Window for Customs database and real-time per-shipment tracking in the HFC licensing system.
It is also considering limiting the market players to “legitimate participants”.
The market can provide feedback for the review up until September 7.