EU seeks to wipe out ‘planet-warming refrigerants’, but smugglers cash in

Another outbreak of trace gas climate paranoia, with vehicle air conditioning in the firing line this time. But attempts to choke off supplies of supposedly offending refrigerants have created a market for smugglers bringing cheap HFCs from China.
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The EU’s legislation on fluorinated gases, adopted in 2014, needs an overhaul “to increase ambition in line with the European Green Deal” and “better prevent” an ongoing surge of illegal imports coming from China, an EU official told EURACTIV.

Demand for F-gases, a family of chemicals used as a refrigerant, has increased steadily since they were introduced in the early 1990s to replace the ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

But F-gases are also among the most potent greenhouse gases [Talkshop comment: assertion with no supporting evidence, as usual] and are now also being phased out as a result.

Emissions of F-gases soared about 70% between 1990 and 2014, and peaked globally in 2015. They currently amount to 2.5% of total EU greenhouse gas emissions, according to the European Environment Agency.

Their impact on the earth’s climate is considerable. Fluorinated gases have a global warming potential (GWP) up to 23,000 times greater than carbon dioxide. Moreover, they can linger in the atmosphere up to 270 years in the case of HFCs, while sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and perfluorocarbons (PFCs) can stay for millennia.

The culprits are well identified. F-gases are used mainly as coolants in air conditioning and in domestic, supermarket and industrial refrigeration, which altogether represent an outstanding 90% of total emissions.

Potential leakages in all these areas spring from production plants and the manipulation of pre-charged equipment.

A global affair

Worldwide, demand for HFCs is on the rise due to the mass adoption of Western lifestyles, which rely heavily on food preservation and air-conditioning in cars and buildings.

The impact of F-gases is global since they blend with other gases in the atmosphere.

Full report here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

November 9, 2020 at 05:42AM

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