EIA Warns against results from pro-HFC campaign

EIA Warns against results from pro-HFC campaign

Following recent policy developments at the EU and UK level pointing to a potential tightening of restrictions on the use of HFCs, HFC EIA warns against results from pro-HFC campaignindustry proponents have launched a campaign to oppose such advent. In response, environmental group EIA has reiterated its call for a clear HFCs phase-out schedule as a means of achieving required emission reductions.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) has called for the early phase-out of HFCs in response to recent industry efforts to oppose current discussions on policy mandating restricted use of such substances. Such policy developments include the EU draft position paper for the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen this December, whereby “an international emissions reduction arrangement” for HFCs is called for. A strong EU position on restricting HFC emissions is likely to further affect the 2011 review of the F-Gas regulation so that it includes a phase-out schedule in addition to the existing containment measures. At the UK level, Lord Hunt, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has stated that a “restriction on non-essential use” would be considered as part of the government’s F-Gas legislation review.

As the pressure mounts to move away from the use of refrigerants with high global warming potential, HFC industry proponents in the UK have launched a campaign to advocate the essential role and benefits of using HFCs and call for a F-gas containment strategy as the means to addressing HFC emissions instead of a phase out.

EIA: HFC campaign is misguided

However, the EIA said that the campaign is misguided, and called a phase out of HFCs essential as an example to the developing world. “Although it poses significant challenges, a clear phase out schedule offers a strong degree of certainty and enables future planning which is essential to any business”, said EIA global environment campaign co-ordinator Fionnuala Walravens. “As with previous ODS phase outs it would involve a gradual reduction in HFC usage and will not mean that HFCs are banned overnight.” Miss Walravens insisted that a successful opposition of the HFC phase out by the industry would come at the cost of Europe not being able to precede to deeper emission reduction targets.

Already at last month’s RAC Alternative Cooling event, EIA stressed that only a complete ban on using HFCs in all new buildings and installations, and a consequent use of natural refrigerants, would lead to the required emission reductions. With less than 0.46% of all UK stores converted to natural alternatives and 19-33% of a supermarket’s carbon footprint coming from direct HFC refrigerant emissions, Walravens questioned the effectiveness of leakage reduction measures taken by the industry. The EIA is now in concrete talks with the UK government to explore an HFC phase out scheme.

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