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Gas suppliers press for F-gas agreement

7532040_lBRUSSELS: The group representing fluorocarbon refrigerant suppliers has urged the European negotiators to reach agreement on the F-gas revisions, end market uncertainty and deliver on its environmental goals.

Coreper, the Permanent Representatives Committee of the EU member states, meets again tomorrow to discuss whether there is any chance of a compromise agreement with the “green” stance of the European MEPs. If there is, a last-gasp fourth trialogue meeting could be arranged this month. If not, negotiations will have to restart after the European elections in May next year.

The severity of the phase-down and potential product bans are thought to be major sticking points but there are other areas where the member states and Parliament bitterly disagree.

“We are aware of the on-going discussions on sector and sub-sector bans in refrigeration and air-conditioning,” said Nick Campbell, chairman of the European Fluorocarbon Technical Committee (EFCTC), “but these seem to be losing sight of the fact that the cap and phase-down of HFCs in the revised regulation will deliver the required environmental outcome whilst allowing industry to respond in a practical and cost-effective manner.”

EFCTC is equally concerned that a delay in adoption of the revised F-gas regulation will send a negative signal to the international negotiations on controlling HFCs, delay the important processes of embracing lower GWP solutions and the development of new technologies as well as resulting in confusion in the market over the possible inclusion of imported equipment within the proposed HFC cap.

“Many alternatives to higher GWP HFCs have to be chosen on a case-by-case basis, for example, some do not work in higher temperature regions,” stated Dr Campbell. “Bans on individual uses can eliminate competition between technologies and stop research on solutions that may be vital to reduce HFC and other greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world”.

Dr Campbell added, “While we do not yet know what will be in the final agreement, it is not possible to estimate the impact on HFC emissions, but it is our understanding that a delay of two years due to the requirement for a second reading, would inevitably result in higher HFC emissions. A delay would also result in lower investment in new equipment as operators will postpone decisions in response to the lack of legal certainty. A first reading agreement, even in absence of any further bans, therefore would be good for the environment and the economic recovery.”

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