R-134aHFC producers’ body, the EFTC (European Fluorocarbons Technical Committee) has issued a position paper encouraging adoption of the proposed amendment to the Montreal Protocol for a global HFC cap and phase-down.

The backing for a phase-down by the European Fluorocarbons Technical Committee will be viewed by many as an acceptance by refrigerant producers that pursuing new low-GWP options globally are the best way ahead for the industry and the environment. Significantly the body has called for a reduction in HFC consumption, rather than production.

The EFTC said it encourages Parties to the Montreal Protocol to “move forward with a constructive dialogue to achieve an agreement for a global cap and reduction for HFC consumption on a GWP-weighted basis.”

The group noted that the Montreal Protocol “has played a critical role in successfully controlling consumption of CFCs and HCFCs and could provide the necessary expertise to effectively implement a similar system for HFCs.

“A clear long-term regulatory framework and time frame, as has been adopted recently in the European Union with the new F-gas regulation, is needed for research, development, and deployment to progress at the necessary speed and for manufacturers of equipment and products to undertake the necessary programs to adopt lower GWP alternatives. Encouraging progress is being made by HFC producers to find low GWP alternatives for a range of applications including aerosols, mobile air conditioning, insulating foams, and commercial refrigeration.”

The EFTC said: “It is estimated that the overall global warming impact of HFC emissions worldwide currently represents less than 2 per cent of the total global greenhouse gases emissions. While HFCs are the preferred solution for many societal needs because of their safety and performance advantages, without action, the demand for HFCs will grow…and such growth would result in the use of HFCs becoming a more significant source of emissions in the future.

“The proposal submitted by North American countries for a cap and reduction of HFC consumption on a GWP-weighted basis, in our opinion forms a good initial framework for a dialogue, recognizing that any final agreement needs to be realistic, balanced, flexible and fair, meeting the needs of the Parties, and taking into account industrial planning timescales and the capacity of industry to invest in new lower GWP products and applications.

“We consider that any final agreement should focus on consumption, which determines use, leading to reduced emissions. On this basis, legislative control of production is not necessary as the consumption cap will maintain the required high level of environmental ambition. Furthermore, there should also be a requirement for production reporting from 2015.”

The EFTC also called for consideration of “legally binding reduction targets” for developing countries. It said: “We believe that this approach will allow HFCs to be used for their safety and performance where appropriate, encourage innovation for the use of lower GWP alternatives and applications, but without significant disruption to the industries that use HFCs. We look forward to a constructive dialogue at the 34th meeting of Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol in Paris, July 14-18, 2014.”

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

Publication date: 5/19/2014

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