F-gas Regulation: Works in Progress
The review of the F-gas Regulation is certainly the hottest theme for the cold sector in the current 2021 because this process might shuffle the cards on the table and propose more ambitious and stricter targets for the sector, compared to what provided by the current version of the Regulation (517/2014)
It aims at 79% reduction of HFC emissions (measured in equivalent CO2 tons) by 2030 versus the average of emissions in the 2009-2012 period. A possibility – that is to say, more ambitious incoming goals – absolutely not remote, due to the legislative changes and non- that have followed one another since 2014 – birth year of the current regulation – until today.
Let us briefly summarize:
- In 2014 the current F-gas Regulation was born;
- in 2016 is adopted the Amendment of Kigali to Montreal Protocol that provides for the reduction of the production and consumption of HFC by at least 80% in the next 30 years. It comes into force in 2019.
- In 2019 the Commission of Ursula von der Leyen presents the European Green Deal strategy that fixes for Europe the achievement of the carbon neutrality (net emissions equal to zero) by 2050.
To these events of political nature, we can add that in recent years we have witnessed a notable evolution of available technologies with low GWP or natural refrigerants, which has resulted in the availability and appreciation of technological solutions not fully consolidated in 2014, yet. In this context, we can hardly think that the F-gas Regulation can remain unchanged, also because in this case it would be neither compliant with the European Green Deal strategy by von der Leyen Commission. The European Commission, represented by Arno Kaschl, intervened in the second edition of VTS – Virtual Trade Show for natural refrigerants, organized by Shecco at the end of March, confirms that the revision is very likely to lead to more ambitious targets than current ones. Although it is premature to give concrete indications about the aspect of the future regulation, Kaschl states: «The F-gas Regulation is already now very ambitious: it aims at reducing by 2/3 the HFC on the market within 2030. We could be ambitious because the costs of this drastic reduction are affordable. However, at present we can see the results of a great evolution of technologies. Many changes occurred and this lets us glimpse much room to be more ambitious».
This graph shows the progress state of the gradual reduction of HFC as per EU regulation. The data reported for 2019 are preliminary and subjected to further validation by the European Commission. The values from 2007 to 2013 are based on the old regulation’s communication obligations about fluorinated gases (EC) n. 842/2006 and therefore they are not fully comparable with the data since 2014 onwards (according to the new regulation’s obligations about fluorinated gases EU 517/2014). The maximum quantities of gradual elimination of HFC in EU shown since 2019 onwards are indicated for EU-28. The maximum quantities of EU-27 for 2021 onwards will have to be recalculated for the period that follows the Brexit transition period. (Source: EEA)
Towards what targets?
Too early, then, to say what image the new F-gas Regulation will have. While we are writing this text (April 2020) the Commission is analysing the responses obtained from the public consultation, remained open for any interested person until December 2020. If it is not possible to describe the face of the new regulation, yet, it is anyway possible to explain the general targets that will drive this review. They are listed by Barbara Gschrei, general director of Öko-Recherche, office entrusted by the Commission with the collection and analysis of data concerning the trend of the F-gas Regulation application.
The targets pursued by the Commission with this review are the following:
- Rising ambition in line with the European Green;
- Conforming to the goals of Montreal Protocol and Kigali Amendment;
- Increasing the structure and the affirmation of the Regulation coherently among member States, eliminating the possibility of wrong interpretations and favouring the clarification of still unsolved questions;
- Analysing all possible fields to improve the application of the Regulation
Building on these objectives, political proposals will be submitted consistently with the other European policies and they will be expected to bring added-value to Europe. Once defined the political proposals, they will be evaluated in terms of social, environmental and economic impact. They estimate the new version of the F-gas Regulation will be born in 2022.