On Thursday, 30 March, MEPs almost fully adopted the text proposed by the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) (Rapporteur Bas Eickhout, Member of Parliament for the Greens/European Free Alliance) on the revision of the EU legislative framework on fluorinated gas (F-gas) emissions with 426 votes in favour, 109 against and 52 abstentions. With this decision, the Parliament embraced a very ambitious position, advocating the phasing out of fluorinated greenhouse gases by 2050.
The main measures of the Parliament’s position are the acceleration of the current phase-down of HFCs in the EU to complete phase-out by 2050 and the introduction of bans on new HFC-based equipment in a number of sectors, including smaller heat pumps and air conditioning systems.
In particular, the main amendments approved include:
- Bans on the use of fluorinated gases in:
- stationary refrigeration equipment from 1 January 2027;
- refrigerated transport equipment in refrigerated vans and ships from 2027; in refrigerated trailers and containers from 1 January 2029
- air-conditioning equipment and plug-in, packaged and other self-contained heat pumps containing fluorinated greenhouse gases from 1 January 2026
- single-split systems, including fixed double duct systems, containing less than 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases listed in Annex I, which contain or whose operation depends on fluorinated gases from 1 January 2028
- split systems of nominal capacity up to and including 12kW from 1 January 2028;
- split systems with rated capacity greater than 12kW and up to 200kW, prohibition of use of refrigerant with GWP equal to or greater than 750, except where compliance with safety standards is required from 1 January 2028
- split systems with a rated capacity above 200 kW from 1 January 2028.
The European Parliament also voted to include bans on the use of F-gases in other sectors, such as chillers, foams, transport refrigeration and technical aerosols. It also adopted measures to tackle illegal trade in HFCs, to require mandatory extension of producer responsibility and to increase the price of the quota to EUR 5, with periodic increases over time to accommodate phase-downs and ensure a steady revenue stream. Finally, the proposed amendments ban the export of equipment containing greenhouse gases to third countries.
For now, however, the regulation is far from complete. The European Parliament will first start negotiations with the European Council, then the trialogue between the European Parliament, the Commission and the Council will begin. An agreement is expected to be reached before the summer.