S&Ds push to gradually replace harmful air conditioning and refrigeration with eco-friendly options
The European Parliament today backed a new regulation to start phasing out fluorinated 'greenhouse gases' (known as F-gases), despite pressure from big multinationals.
The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament supported the new legislation because it will reduce environmental damage and will encourage the use of alternative eco-friendly equipment, much of which has been developed through research and innovation from European companies.
F-gases are currently used in air-conditioning systems, fridges, insulation foams, electrical equipment, aerosol sprays (as solvents) and in fire-protection systems. They are up to 23,000 times more damaging than CO2 and can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years.
The S&D spokesperson on the issue, MEP Jo Leinen, said:
"There are natural gases that have been developed and are as effective as the F-gases. So why keep the old polluting solution? The new legislation will help support the market penetration of those companies producing alternative refrigerants at a reasonable price, many of which are based in the EU.
"Both European producers and citizens will benefit, since the demand for their sustainable products will increase and the new air-conditioning systems and refrigerators with natural gases usually consume less energy than the old ones.
"Replacing hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in small air-conditioning systems and a range of industrial refrigeration equipment, as required by the new regulation, will reduce F-gas emissions by 40% in the next decade and promote a transition to climate-friendly equipment.
"The use of HFCs and F-gases must only be allowed in very limited exceptions as climate-friendly alternatives already exist on the market.
"With this legislation the EU is leading the way on tackling emissions from the most damaging greenhouse gases while incentivising innovation and research in this area. The European Parliament managed to reduce the impact on small and medium companies and raised the level of ambition from the original proposal."