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Summaries of EU Legislation

Reducing man-made greenhouse gases (fluorinated gases)

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Reducing man-made greenhouse gases (fluorinated gases)

The regulation is designed to mitigate climate change and protect the environment by reducing emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). It aims to cut these by two thirds of today’s levels by 2030.

ACT

Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 April 2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases and repealing Regulation (EC) No 842/2006.

SUMMARY

The regulation is designed to mitigate climate change and protect the environment by reducing emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). It aims to cut these by two thirds of today’s levels by 2030.

WHAT DOES THE REGULATION DO?

It lays down rules on the containment, use, recovery and destruction of F-gases. It bans the sale of certain products containing F-gases.

It covers hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)*, perfluorocarbons (PFCs)* and sulphur hexafluorides (SF6)*.

It sets an overall yearly limit on the climate impact of HFCs. This will be gradually reduced between 2015 and 2030.

KEY POINTS

The regulation sets out the following obligations.

  • Intentional release of F-gases is prohibited, unless technically necessary for the intended use of a product. Manufacturers must do their utmost best to limit emissions during the production, transport and storage of F-gases.
  • Operators of equipment containing F-gases must take every precaution to avoid any leakage. They must ensure the equipment is regularly checked for leaks. Requirements vary according to the potential climate impact or whether the equipment is hermetically sealed.
  • National authorities are responsible for setting up certification and training programmes for businesses and people involved in installing, servicing, maintaining, repairing or decommissioning F-gases equipment and in recovering F-gases.
  • It phases in bans from 2015 to 2025 on the sale of new items such as certain categories of fridges and freezers, air-conditioning systems, foams and aerosols containing F-gases where safer, more climate-friendly alternatives exist.
  • It reduces the climate impact of the use of HFCs over time. The annual limit for HFCs on the market in 2030 is 21 % of 2009-2012 levels. To ensure the limits are respected, the Commission allocates annual quotas to producers and importers. These must not be exceeded.
  • Producers, importers, exporters, users of feedstock and businesses that destroy F-gases must report annually to the Commission. Importers of F-gases equipment must do the same and from 2017 provide evidence that the quantities of HFCs in their imported equipment are accounted for.

The Commission will report on the effects of the regulation by 31 December 2022.

WHEN DOES THE REGULATION APPLY?

From 1 January 2015.

BACKGROUND

F-gases are man-made greenhouse gases with a global warming effect up to 23 000 times that of carbon dioxide. They account for 2 % of EU greenhouse gas emissions. F-gases are often replaceable by more climate-friendly alternatives.

KEY TERMS

* HFCs are used as refrigerants, cleaning solvents and foam-blowing agents (such as fire extinguishers).

* PFCs are used to manufacture semi-conductors, as cleaning solvents and as foam-blowing agents.

* SF 6 are used in high-voltage switch gear and magnesium production.

For further information, see the website of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Climate Action.

REFERENCES

Act

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Regulation (EU) No 517/2014

9.6.2014

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OJ L 150 of 20.5.2014, pp. 195-230.

last update 23.07.2015

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