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France clears Daimler and R134a

dsc_9964FRANCE: The French Supreme Court has upheld last August’s decision to overturn the MAC regulations and allow Daimler to continue to use R134a in its car air conditioning systems.

After an appeal from Mercedes-Benz France, the Court annulled the French Environment Ministry’s blocking of the registration of Daimler cars for a maximum of six months. Despite being in contravention of the European Union’s MAC Directive that banned the use of R134a, Daimler argued that the alternative, R1234yf, was dangerous.

The Supreme Court decided that Daimler’s continued use of R134a would not cause serious harm to the environment or public health.

The French Environment Ministry argued that the emissions produced during the life of the 4,500 blocked vehicles would amount to 2,800 tonnes of CO2 equivalent and with the risk that other manufacturers would follow the same route.

The judge decided that the 6% of new models registered in 2013 using R1234yf represented a tiny proportion of just 1.74 % of all vehicles registered and blocking the registration of R134a cars was not sufficient to be considered a serious harm to the environment.

Despite the ruling of the court, Honeywell called for a speedy enforcement of the MAC Directive, arguing that the safety of 1234yf had been repeatedly proven.

In a statement, Honeywell said: “If enforced broadly and effectively, the MAC Directive can achieve the equivalent of removing 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year, or removing 4 million cars from European roads. An estimated 1 million cars are already using HFO-1234yf safely, and the number is expected to double by the end of this year.”

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