LONDON: A coalition of leading environmental organisations has called on the European Union’s climate Commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, to propose ambitious action to phase out climate-changing fluorinated gases, or F-gases.
The call – jointly issued by the Environmental Investigation Agency, European Environmental Bureau, Greenpeace, World Wide Fund for Nature, Deutsche Umwelthilfe, Climate Action Network Europe, Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development, Natuur & Milieu, CDM Watch and ClientEarth – comes as the EU is preparing a review of the laws governing F-gases and points out that research conducted for the European Commission shows the use of F-gases can be banned from new equipment in most sectors by 2020.
Such a move would reduce fluorinated gases now and in the future, abating more than 600 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) emissions by 2030 and in excess of 2.1 billion tonnes of CO2-eq emissions by 2050, while enabling European businesses to develop a global advantage in a new clean technology industry.
The coalition’s letter has been sent in response to concerns that the European Commission will propose weak measures based on an unambitious phase-down of the gases over a long timeframe, essentially allowed companies to continue polluting as normal.
“Using alternatives to HFCs and F-gases not only reduces direct emissions of these greenhouse gases but there are also energy efficiency gains to be made. This is one of the cheapest and most effective things Europe can do to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,” said Environmental Investigation Agency climate campaigner Alasdair Cameron.
“In order for industry to have the confidence to invest in alternatives, we need clear bans on the use of F-gases on a sector-by-sector basis. The mostly European businesses providing alternatives need concrete timeframes for planning and investment purposes, something that a so-called ‘economy-wide phase-down’ will not provide”.
F-gases are a family of chemicals used in refrigeration, air-conditioning, insulation and foam-blowing, with global warming potentials hundreds or thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide.
Interviews are available on request: please contact Alasdair Cameron via firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 020 7354 7960.
1. The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is a UK-based Non Governmental Organisation and charitable trust (registered charity number 1040615) that investigates and campaigns against a wide range of environmental crimes, including illegal wildlife trade, illegal logging, hazardous waste, and trade in climate and ozone-altering chemicals.
2. The full text of the letter to Commissioner Hedegaard is available here.
3. Read EIA’s F-gas Regulation review position paper, End in Sight: Phasing Out Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases in Europe, at http://www.eia-international.org/?p=4285
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