FETA (The Federation of Environmental Trade Associations Ltd) has issued a statement in reaction to the European Parliament’s ‘Environment Committee (ENVI)’ vote this week to amend legislation on banning HFC refrigerants in air conditioning equipment by 2020 and described it as ‘A Dark Day for Democracy in Europe’.
The FETA statement described the amendment, which was voted through on 19 June, as an exploitation of a procedural loophole which denied the majority of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) of an opportunity to put their views across on the “extreme proposals to amend the F Gas Regulation“.
The loophole, according to FETA, has enabled the ENVI committee to bypass their standard procedure which allows MEPs to debate amendments openly in a plenary session, thereby by opening up the opportunity for them to “horse trade with member states behind closed doors“.
The expectation is that other countries will follow Europe’s lead with this “severe European agreement to hase down HFCs“. However, FETA believes this is “ill-advised“.
Cedric Sloan, the Director General of FETA stated,
“It is the owners, operators and users of HFC based RAC equipment across Europe who will once more pay the price of this political folly.”
European Parliament Unconcerned About Who Pays the F-Gas Bill
20 June 2013
In a dramatic movement yesterday, the European Parliament voted to bring forward the F-Gas ban deadline from 2020 to 2017 on certain types of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment.
The Environment Committee of the European Parliament decided to proceed with the changes to the deadlines by 49 votes to 19, with 1 abstention, in order to accelerate the ban on ‘F-Gases’.
Lead MEP on the committee, Bas Eickhout, from the Netherlands, said:
“Today’s vote represents an important step in the fight against climate change. Emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases have risen by 60% since 1990 in the EU. Banning the use of these “super greenhouse gases” in refrigeration and air-conditioning is therefore urgently needed to reverse this negative trend.”
He went on to cite the recent agreement between the USA and China, conducted by Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping, which moves forward plans to lower the usage of HFCs in their respective countries, clearly aiming to set an example to other regions of the world.
F-Gas phase out plans have been in place since 2006, although some sectors of the economy appear to be slow at reacting to the changes they need to make to their air conditioning and refrigeration systems.
New Sectors and Products Hit by F-Gas Update
This amendment to the laws will see a number of new sectors having to phase out F-Gases in their products sooner than expected.
The news from the Environment committee was not met with praise from the business sector, which is having to invest heavily in the changes the legislation will bring to their industries.
Christian Verschueren, Director-General of EuroCommerce commented,
“The commerce sector fully supports a shift to more environmentally friendly refrigerants. Some leading retail companies have already shown the way and committed to phase out F-gases as of 2015 for new installations, implementing the resolution of the global Consumer Goods Forum.”
“However, before every store, large or small, from the Northern tip of Finland to the South of Spain, has been converted to more environmentally-friendly alternatives, more time would be needed. We ask the legislator to be mindful of the practical realities of finding and applying suitable alternatives.”
Verschueren’s organisation stated on its website that they thing the amendments set “unrealistic deadlines” for the implementation of the ban.
They Don’t Care Who Pays the F-Gas Bill
Andrea Voigt, from EPEE (European Partnership for Energy and Environment), was not happy with the decision either:
“We are very disappointed that the Environment Committee has chosen the course of command and control politics with the highest price tag that Europeans will have to pay for.”
Voigt’s concern is with the large section economy which will be affected by the new phase-out dates, which supports 200,00 jobs directly. Her oganisation’s statement went on to say that the ‘European Parliament asks for the impossible and does not care who pays the bill‘.
ACR Today has put together a table below to highlight the new prohibition dates being brought into force by the European Parliament which relate to the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. The amendments are in bold.
|Products and Equipment||Date of Prohibition|
|Domestic refrigerators and freezers that contain HFCs containing HFCs with GWP of 150 or more||1 January 2015|
|Refrigerators and freezers 1 January 2017 for the storage, display or distribution of products in retail and food service (“commercial
use”) – hermetically sealed systems
|that contain HFCs with GWP of 2500 or more||1 January 2017|
|that contain HFCs with GWP of 150 or more||1 January 2020|
|Movable room air-conditioning appliances (hermetically sealed equipment which is movable between rooms by the end user) that contain HFCs with GWP of 150 or more||1 January 2020|
|Stationary refrigeration equipment that contains fluorinated greenhouse gases with GWP of 2500 or more, except equipment intended for use at operating temperatures of below -50°C||1 January 2016|
|Stationary refrigeration equipment that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases, except equipment intended for use at operating temperatures of below -50°C||1 January 2020|
|Mobile refrigeration equipment that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases||1 January 2025|
|Refrigerators and freezers for the storage, display or that contain HFCs with GWP of 2150 or more 1 January 2015PE510.520v01-00 6/31 M\934092EN.doc EN distribution of products in retail and food service (“commercial use”) – hermetically sealed
|that contain HFCs with GWP of 2150 or more||1 January 2015|
|that contain HFCs||1 January 2018|
|Stationary air-conditioning equipment that contain fluorinated greenhouse gases||1 January 2020|
|Air-conditioning equipment in cargo ships that contain
fluorinated greenhouse gases
|1 January 2020|