EU Parliament reprieves use of HFCs for air conditioning

The decision by the European Parliament to reject provisions banning HFCs in a wide range of air-conditioning and refrigeration applications has been welcomed by the European Partnership for Energy & the Environment. The partnership believes that a ban would have had a disproportionate effect on air-conditioning and refrigeration sector compared to the potential savings in emissions of greenhouse gases. Instead of banning the use of these gases, the provisions for containment and reporting are strengthened, as well as a set of amendments on training and certification that will ensure free movement of personnel and mutual recognition of qualifications across Europe. The moves are aimed at minimising the greenhouse effect caused by the emission of these HFCs into the atmosphere. HFCs include substances such as 134a, 32 and 125, which are used as refrigerants, individually or in blends such as R410A and R407C. The European Parliament’s decision affects domestic and commercial refrigeration and stationary air conditioning. Friedrich Busch, director general of EPEE, says, ‘By eliminating these provisions [a ban on the use of HFCs], the parliament has adopted the best approach to reach the environmental of emission reduction in the most cost-effective way.’ EEPE now looks forward to the discussions in the Council of the EU and calls on member states to find a consensus to provide the long-awaited legal certainty for the use of fluorinated greenhouse gases through an EU-wide framework.

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