Decision enhances containment measures and offers flexible quota for heat pumps, but introduces ill-considered bans on all F-gases that will prolong reliance on fossil fuels
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Brussels, 5 October 2023: The European Partnership for Energy and the Environment (EPEE), representing the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) manufacturing industry in Europe, expressed its disappointment at the trilogue outcome on the F-gas Regulation Revision.
“We have always been in agreement with the principles and goals of the F-gas regulation to phase down the use of HFCs and to deliver solutions that enable carbon neutrality by 2050,” said Russell Patten, Director General of EPEE. “We believe this agreement will be challenging for the sector to implement given certain unclear provisions linked to the bans.”
EPEE expressed concern that these elements will send contradictory messages to the market and work against the wider contributions F-gases make to decarbonisation. “EPEE and its members are studying the provisional agreement and stand ready to support market actors in the transition,” said Patten.
EPEE noted it supported further improvements on containment measures and certification requirements, and appreciated that these are included in the revision. “Enhanced containment measures, including leak checks and recovery and recycling procedures, will go a long way to support the HFC phasedown,” said Patten. “Unfortunately, unclear definitions and a complicated quota system add further uncertainty for RACHP equipment manufacturers, especially for heat pumps.”
EPEE said it attempted, with many other industry groups over many months, to urge an energy efficiency- and safety-first approach, and to encourage a proper impact assessment for the wide diversity of the RACHP market, in particular for split-type heat pumps, but also for chillers, air conditioning, and dozens of other applications across the market.
“The European Parliament became dogmatic in its insistence of a full F-gas ban, including ultralow-GWP HFOs and their blends, that is not evidence-based,” said Patten. “Certainly some applications are appropriate for so-called ‘natural’ refrigerants, but not all, and an F-gas ban will put decarbonisation opportunities at risk. This agreement will undoubtedly prolong our reliance on fossil fuels.”
Manufacturers are now in the challenging position of acting under a full F-gas ban, coupled with affordability requests from authorities. In addition, EPEE said that postponing ban dates with a future review clause may be well intended but does not alleviate industry concerns. The review clause is unusual and points to an inherently flawed regulation. In fact it is not in line with the interinstitutional agreement on better law-making. “It demonstrates that policymakers recognise the agreement is not sufficiently workable in practice,” said Patten.
EPEE expressed hope that industry’s concerns are considered in the final voting stage, and called for the same ambitious approach to be applied to the EPBD and Ecodesign files to decarbonize the rest of the heating industry and break the endless cycle of fossil fuels. “We hope that as industry we can be involved in the next steps to support an effective implementation,” said Patten.
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