In 2014, the EU F-Gas Regulation mandated that fluorinated gas emissions must be reduced by two-thirds by 2030, as compared with 2014 levels. The phase-down is ongoing. Slowly, we are replacing fluorinated gases such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) with climate-friendly alternative refrigerants in the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump sectors. But the technical complexities of this switch are holding back the transition. Safety standards drastically limit the use of climate-friendly alternatives such as natural refrigerants because of their flammable properties, without reflecting technological developments able to mitigate the risks. Even more worrying are the growing emissions of sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) from the electricity sector – SF6 is the most potent greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential (GWP) 22,200 times higher than CO2. ECOS works at both European and international standardisation level to reduce the barriers posed by standards to the uptake of natural refrigerants. At policy level, we seek to increase the ambition of the F-Gas Regulation, improving the environmental performance of the heating and cooling sector.
ECOS has recently joined the Cool Coalition, a global network of 100+ governments, businesses, finance, academia and civil society partners committed to cutting emissions from cooling appliances – a source of climate change rapidly growing as temperatures on the planet rise.
ECOS has called on the European Commission to take a bolder stance in the upcoming revision of the F-Gas Regulation and accelerate the phase-down of highly polluting fluorinated gases.
Recent research within the LIFE FRONT project, with active participation from ECOS, shows that introducing higher ceilings to the use of climate-friendly refrigerating agents is safe.