EEA claims F-gas imports meets with EU limits

Upcoming report from the EEA suggests imports of HFCs fall short of the EU’s restrictions

The European Environment Agency (EEA) is to publish a report which claims that imports of HFC refrigerants into European Union member states in 2015 did not exceed EU limits, despite a US refrigerant manufacturer claiming that illegal imports are flooding the market.

According to early suggestions, the EEA report will state that a total of 168Mt CO2eq (CO2 equivalent) of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) refrigerants was placed in the European market last year. This is well within the limit of 183Mt CO2eq, as set out by the European Union.

HFCs (or f-gases) are used in refrigerators and air-conditioning units, among other products. They are considered damaging to Earth’s ozone layer.

In recent years, there has been a number of global initiatives to restrict the use of HFCs on a worldwide scale; most recently at a meeting of global leaders who agreed to a number of measures to reduce HFC use over a number of years as part of the Montreal Protocol.

For 2015, the European Union introduced the European f-gas phase-down, which dictates who and how much HFC refrigerants can be imported into EU member countries.

Last month, US f-gas manufacturer, Honeywell, claimed up to 10Mt CO2eq of illegal HFCs was placed on the European market, and that the figures from the EEA ‘benefit’ from the stockpiling that occurred at the end of 2014 in anticipation of the phase down.

Dr Patrick Amrhein, marketing director at Honeywell, said that EEA’s figures can not take illegal imports into consideration “as they are not captured by the method the EEA is using”.

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