The European Fluorocarbons Technical Committee (EFCTC) welcomes the publication of a new report by the European Environment Agency on fluorinated greenhouse gases. The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases 2021 report demonstrates progress made under the EU’s hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) quota system, and highlights the ongoing review of the F-gas Regulation amid the threat posed by illegally imported refrigerants.
“The EFCTC views the data highlighted in this report as further evidence that the F-gas Regulation, when enforced, is working. We welcome its recognition that in 2020 the quantity of HFCs placed on the EU market is 4% below the limit allowed under the EU HFC quota system, and thus, 52% below the maximum imposed by the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment”, noted Dr Nick Campbell, EFCTC Chairman. “This demonstrates that companies are moving to alternatives with lower GWP, including lower-GWP HFCs to meet vital societal needs such as refrigeration, air-conditioning, heat pumps and foam insulation.”
While the report states it is unable to quantitatively account for the illegal import of HFCs outside of the official reporting and compliance system, there is clear evidence of progress in the fight against HFC smuggling within the EU. During 2020 and 2021, Member States have made a number of successful seizures of illegally imported HFCs. This includes an operation in October 2021 coordinated by the Dutch authorities and supported by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) and Europol, which resulted in the seizure of at least 2100 cylinders of illicit HFCs with an estimated value of over 10 million euros.
“Illegal trade in HFCs is financing organised crime, threatening legitimate small businesses and, ultimately, impacting climate targets,” added Nick Campbell, “the European Commission and Member States have taken actions to counter illegal trade through ensuring that only legitimate companies have HFC quotas and through improved enforcement at borders. However, more still needs to be done and we look to the revision of the F-gas Regulation in 2022 to further improve enforcement measures and to introduce proportionate and harmonised penalties.”
EFCTC introduced an Action Line in 2019 to enable individuals and companies to confidentially report suspicious behaviour. Information is passed on to enforcement authorities leading directly to criminal investigations. EFCTC’s Action Line: https://efctc.integrityline.org/ is available in 14 languages.
EFCTC also has a pledge #SayNoToIllegalHFCs for organisations and individuals to commit to doing their part to eradicate the black market for HFCs. To find out more please visit the website: https://stopillegalcooling.eu/pledge/