The European Council (EC) has decided to reduce the emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases (f-gases), agreeing to phase out some of them completely. f-gases, used in refrigeration, air conditioning, fire fighting and many industrial processes are very powerful and long living. "The legislation agreed is another element in the framework we are building to curb climate change and implement the Kyoto Protocol. It is an important element because f-gases have huge global warming potential, in some cases almost 24,000 times that of carbon dioxide," said EU environment commissioner Margot Wallstrom. The gases covered under the agreement are hydrofluorocarbons (hfcs), perfluorocarbons (pfcs) and sulphur hexafluoride (sf6). The legislation aims to check their amount by more than 20 million tonnes per year.
The rules pertain to monitoring and reporting emissions, labelling products and equipment and setting up eu-wide minimum standards for training and certification of personnel. The legislation will go for a second reading in the European Parliament in 2005 and is expected to be adopted by the end of 2005.