A new report by Michael Kauffield of the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences shows that hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) can realistically be banned in most new cooling equipment produced in the European Union by 2020.
Used as cooling agents in refrigeration and air-conditioning, and as blowing agents for foams , HFCs are a family of potent greenhouse gases thousands of times more powerful than carbon dioxide.
According to a recent report by the European Environment Agency (EEA), EU greenhouse gas
emissions increased in 2010, as a result of both economic recovery in
many countries after the 2009 recession and a colder winter.
The new study, produced with the support of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), demonstrates that HFCs can be banned and substituted with energy-efficient and more climate-friendly alternatives.
The European Commission is currently undertaking a review of its F-Gas Regulation, the law governing the use of HFCs in the European Union. An independent study recently highlighted numerous shortcomings in the Regulation, including a lack of implementation and enforcement in many parts of the EU.
Unless additional measures are taken, emissions of HFCs will rise by more than 80 per cent by 2050, jeopardising Europe’s climate targets.
”Banning the use of HFCs in new equipment could prevent the release of 600 million tonnes C02-equivalent by 2030, more than the UK’s entire annual carbon emissions. At the same time, many of the alternatives are more energy-efficient than existing technologies,” said EIA Senior Campaigner Clare Perry.
The European Commission is expected to bring forward its initial proposals for a review of the F-Gas Regulation in the autumn.
”The EU has a fantastic opportunity, and a responsibility, to phase out the use of HFCs. There is simply no reason for new HFC equipment or products to be allowed on the market when efficient, safe and affordable alternatives are available,” said Perry