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European Spotlight

India Blocks HFC Phasedown, Spain Approves F-Gas Tax

India Is Concerned About Economics, Spain Will Not Tax First Refrigerant Charge in New Equipment

India has continued to block the move for a global hyrdofluorocarbon (HFC) phasedown at a meeting of Montreal Protocol nations due to concerns over cost and availability of technology.

At the Bangkok meeting, India, along with China and Brazil, blocked the long-standing proposal to amend the Montreal Protocol, permitting it to deal with HFCs.

Previously, an agreement between U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was seen as a key step toward a global agreement to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol.

The agreement, following a similar move from China in June, was widely expected to move the phasedown debate forward significantly before the Montreal Protocol nations met in Thailand.

The U.S. demanded that India agree to set up a ‘contact group’ on HFCs in the Montreal Protocol, which would effectively kick-start the process of dealing with the gases out of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where the gases are currently handled, and developed countries are required in principle to pay full costs for technology transitions.

However, the Indian government had internally expressed apprehensions that Indian industry would be pushed to buy proprietary technology from companies in the U.S. and elsewhere at a very high cost to make the transition without adequate financial support.

India settled for holding an early meeting of a bilateral task force on the matter with the U.S., but not changing its stance before that. According to local press reports, a source in the Indian negotiating team said, “We have asked the U.S. to provide us data and information on the economics of making the technological shift but as yet they have not come back with the information.”

He added, “Unless there is clarity on the costs and technological changes involved at the bilateral task force, we cannot expect our position to change.”

Spain to Tax F-Gas Use

Spain has approved the introduction of a tax on f-gases that will see refrigerants being taxed at up to €20 per tonne of CO2 equivalent (tCO2eq) by 2016. According to website R744.com, while the tax will apply to refrigerants with a global warming potential (GWP) above 150, it will not apply to the first refrigerant charge in new equipment.

Tax levels will be calculated on the basis of the GWP of the refrigerant, with blends having a coefficient of 0.020 applied to the GWP of each constituent gas, up to a maximum of €100 per kilogram.

R744.com adds that the tax will be phased in, with 33 percent of the full rate charged next year and 66 percent in 2015.

The regime for recycled refrigerants is not yet clear, but there are expected to be tax breaks and/or discounts for use of reclaimed HFCs.

Content for the European Spotlight is provided courtesy of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Magazine, London. For more information, visit www.racplus.com.

Publication date: 3/10/2014

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