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Weakening F-gas proposals will attract imports

EUROPE: Environmental NGOs have warned manufacturers that weakening the F-gas revision proposals will open the door for foreign-subsidised HFC heat pump imports.

A position paper, signed by eight NGOs in advance of this week’s European Parliament vote on the F-gas revision proposals, argues that while EU manufacturers are currently global leaders in HFC-free heat pump technologies, a weakening of the Annex IV bans would open the door for Chinese and US subsidised imports.

The NGO group includes the Brussels-based European Environmental Bureau, the German environmental and consumer protection association Deutsche Umwelthilfe, the Environmental Coalition on Standards (ECOS), Italian environmentalist association Legambiente and Spain’s ECODES foundation for ecology and development. 

It claims that German heat pump manufacturer Viessmann told members of the European parliament in January that F-gases are no longer needed for residential heat pumps up to 70kW and urged support of the EC proposal. It also lists other manufacturers already developing, “natural”-refrigerant-based hydronic heat pumps, including AIT, Auer, Ecoforest, Bosch, Daikin, Hautec, Hoval, Panasonic, Samsung, LG, Mitsubishi, Vaillant, Nibe, Wolf, Midea and Clivet, “as well as many SMEs from Spain, Portugal, Italy, Czechia, and Greece”. 

Many of those companies have, of course, already indicated that the F-gas amendments and the quoted time-scales will negatively impact their ability to meet European heat pump installation targets. 

The NGOs argue that it is “merely” a question of scaling-up production, which they insist can happen quickly. As an example, they cite the switch to lower GWP R32 from R410A in single-split air conditioning from near zero to 80% market penetration having been achieved in just four years.

RePowerEU

The group also dismisses arguments that the proposals will jeopardise the RePowerEU targets, claiming that the EC has provided detailed modelling and analysis to parliamentary legislators to show compatibility between the two measures. Additionally, the NGOs argue that equipment manufacturers have a 70MtCO2e bank of unused quota authorisations available – almost double the entire annual quota allocation for 2027.

Related stories:

Industry offers counter F-gas proposals – 22 March 2023
EUROPE: Leading groups representing the HVAC, refrigeration and foam insulation sectors are calling on the European Parliament to take a practical approach in the upcoming vote on the F-gas revision. Read more…

Scientists back propane in heat pumps – 18 March 2023
SWEDEN: More than 40 scientists from across Europe have signed a position statement backing what they say is the proven superior efficiencies of hydrocarbon refrigerants in heat pumps. Read more…

German groups warn of refrigeration “extinction” – 9 March 2023
GERMANY: Industry groups are pleading with their members and their customers to urgently draw the attention of politicians to the “major problems” posed by the F-gas revision and PFAS proposals. Read more…

F-gas concessions fail to pacify manufacturers – 2 March 2023
EUROPE: The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has relaxed some of the equipment bans proposed in the EC’s F-gas revision but not enough to dispel industry concerns. Read more…

“Pause for thought,” says EPEE – 1 March 2023
BELGIUM: EPEE has urged the European Parliament to pause for thought before pressing ahead with the F-gas bans voted for by its environment committee. Read more…

Enviro committee backs “ambitious” F-gas revision – 1 March 2023
EUROPE: The European Parliament’s Environment Committee has today agreed to an “ambitious” revision of the F-gas regulation (517/2014) despite industry concerns that the proposals are unrealistic and jeopardise climate targets. Read more…

Euro vote a major setback for heat pumps – 1 March 2023
BELGIUM: The European Heat Pump Association (EHPA) has described today’s F-gas vote as a major setback for heat pumps in Europe. Read more…

EIA applauds positive F-gas vote – 1 March 2023
UK: Green group the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has applauded the “urgently needed” F-gas bans voted on today by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI). Read more…

Euro industry calls for “realistic” F-gas vote – 27 February 2023
EUROPE: Twelve leading associations and groups active in the European HVACR market have called on the European Parliament’s environment committee to reject amendments which would ban F-gases. Read more…

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