MEPs support ban on f-gas
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The European parliament's environment committee has voted in favour of banning hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) from new fridges and air-conditioning units
The vote followed just days after the US and Chinese presidents agreed to work together to cut the use of the powerful greenhouse gases.
Fluorinated gases (f-gases), which include HFCs, have a warming effect on the atmosphere that can be thousands of times stronger than carbon dioxide.
However, f-gas emissions have increased 60% since 1990 as they have replaced ozone-damaging chlorofluorocarbons in cooling equipment and aerosols.
The committee voted in favour of an amended version of the European Commission’s proposed new F-Gas Regulation to replace existing Regulation 842/2006. MEPs want tighter targets on cutting HFCs and an export ban on appliances using f-gases to prevent them being dumped outside the EU.
Under the committee’s proposals, HFC consumption across the bloc will by 2030 fall to just 16% of current levels, and the use of f-gases in some products, such as fridges, freezers and air conditioners, will be phased out entirely between 2015 and 2020.
The developments in Europe followed confirmation that US president Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, had agreed that joint international action was needed to curb HFC emissions.
A statement from the White House revealed that the US and China are to work together, alongside other countries, using the UN’s Montreal protocol to “phase down the consumption and production” of HFCs.
Achim Steiner, the executive director of the UN Environment Programme, welcomed the move, describing it as important in potentially paving the way to a multilateral agreement.
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