Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are synthetic chemicals that replace many old ozone-depleting substances. They are used in many appliances — from refrigerators to heat pumps and air conditioners — and as solvents and blowing agents for foam. Considered potent greenhouse gases, they have been regulated in the EU since 2006 to reduce their use and impact on climate change.
In 1987, the international community established the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer (a protocol to the Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer) to cut the consumption and production of F-gases.
On 1 January 1989, the Montreal Protocol came into effect and, to fulfil its obligations under this protocol, the EU adopted the more ambitious EU Ozone Regulation. On 1 January 2019, the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol came into effect. It introduced a global phase-down of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which are the most common F-gases. In the EU, this HFC phase-down is laid down in the F-gas Regulation, which came into effect on 1 January 2015.
What the data are telling us
- After increasing for 13 years, F-gas emissions in the EU decreased for the first time in 2015. This can be partly attributed to the EU-wide HFC phase-down set out in the EU F-gas Regulation, which aims to reduce the use of HFCs by European industry and hence mitigate global warming.
- HFCs account for the majority of F-gas emissions. The EU is on track to meet targets and phase-down HFC use by 2030. It is also on track to meet its international obligation to reduce HFC consumption under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.