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European Council passes F-gas revision

EUROPE: Following its recent adoption by the European Parliament, the European Council has now officially voted in favour of the F-gas revision proposals.

Although a foregone conclusion, today’s vote by the Council closes the adoption procedure. The F-gas regulation will now be published in the EU’s Official Journal and enter into force 20 days later.

Following the vote, the European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), which represents manufacturers and associations operating in the European refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump industry, questioned what it sees as a lack of clear definitions in the revision, as well as “insufficient consideration of the better regulation agenda and energy efficiency first principles”. 

“Our members will be working to implement this new regulation to achieve further reductions in greenhouse gases. Our aim is always to support Europe’s action on climate change with highly efficient products that EU citizens rely on every day,” said EPEE director general Russell Patten.  

EPEE noted the final compromise text is an improvement compared to the European Commission and Parliament proposals, but also expressed concern about varying rules across member states, which, it said, could hinder implementation efforts. 

“We are a key partner in successfully implementing this regulation and helping the EU achieve the goals associated with this revision,” said Patten. “Without proper implementation in coordination with industry, a reduction in emissions and widespread use of climate-friendly technologies will turn out to be only dreams rather than reality.” 

EPEE called for improved impact assessment and on-time study reports for future review, to allow for industry to plan accordingly and meet the EU’s critical sustainability goals. 

Under the new rules, the consumption of HFCs will be completely phased out by 2050. The text also introduces a full ban on placing products and equipment containing HFCs on the market for several categories: 2032 for small monobloc heat pumps and air conditioning (<12kW) and 2035 for split air conditioning and heat pumps, with earlier deadlines for certain types of split systems with higher GWP.

The impacts and effects of the regulation, including an assessment of the existence of cost-effective, technically feasible and sufficiently available alternatives to replace F-gases, will be reviewed by the Commission no later than 1 January 2030. 

By 2040 the Commission will also have to evaluate the feasibility of the 2050 phase-out date for the consumption of HFCs and the need for HFCs in sectors where they are still used, taking into account technological developments and the availability of alternatives to HFCs for the applications in question.

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