Firms stockpiled fluorinated gases

10th December 2015


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Author

Sarah Pratt

Fluorinated gases that contribute significantly to climate change have been stockpiled in Europe in anticipation of new EU regulations affecting HFC phase-down quotas, according to the European Environment Agency.

According to a report from the agency, bulk imports of fluorinated greenhouse gases (so-called F-gases) increased 90% in 2014 compared to the previous year, due largely to stockpiling in anticipation of new HFC phase-down regulations and quota allocations for placing HFCs on the market from 2015. Bulk exports of HFCs also increased for the fifth consecutive year, with an increase of 22% (tonnes) or 24% (CO2e) compared to 2013.

F-gases are used in fridges, air conditioning units, aerosols and other products as a replacement for ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were phased out under the Montreal protocol and regulated under EU Regulation 1005/2009.

Emissions from F-gases in the EU have grown by almost 60 % since 1990, and made up approximately 2.5 % of overall greenhouse-gas emissions expressed in global warming potential (GWP) in the 28 member states of the European Union (EU) in 2013, says the report.

New EU legislation introduced in January 2015 aim to reduce F-gas emissions by two thirds of the 2010 level by 2030. Regulation 517/2014 maintains previous measures such as leak prevention, recovery, certification of technicians and restrictions on the use and marketing of fluorinated greenhouse gases, but includes additional reporting obligations for feedstock users, equipment importers and destruction companies. Producers also need to report on any destruction of their own products.

An international in-principle agreement, the Dubai pathway, was reached in November on using the Montreal protocol to reduce the production and use of climate-change-inducing HFCs.

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