Fluorinated greenhouse gases and CFC are governed by international environmental treaties (Kyoto Protocol, Montreal Protocol) whose internationally, legally binding guidelines are implemented by European regulations and directives. Further legislation is enacted to achieve EU environmental protection goals. The body of European guidelines is complemented by national laws and regulations.
The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is the most important international instrument for the protection of the ozone layer and the climate (from e.g. chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFC)). The Montreal Protocol was signed by 24 states and the Commission of the European Communities in September 1987, signalling the global phase-out of the production and use of CFCs.
The Protocol has been ratified by 197 parties on 16 September 2009, making the Montreal Protocol the first universally ratified international treaty. The production volume of substances which deplete the ozone layer has been cut by 95 percent since 1987.
After years of negotiations, the Parties agreed on an HFC phase down scheme on 15 October on Kigali, Rwanda, to effectively cut HFC emissions. The addition of this substance group of climate-damaging HFCs to the Montreal Protocol is based on their major use as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances.
Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change
The emission reduction obligations promulgated by the Kyoto Protocol apply both to the classic greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), and to the fluorinated greenhouse gases HFCs, PFCs, SF6 and NF3 (F-gases). However, the Kyoto Protocol contains no measures that are specific to these substances.
EU regulation of fluorinated greenhouse gases and HFCs
Both Germany and the EU have laid down own climate targets and have, as Kyoto Protocol signatories, committed themselves to emission reductions. To this end, the EU adopted e.g. rules for the use and the placing on the market of F-gases as in Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 and Directive 2006/40/EC.
Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases
Regulation (EU) No. 517/2014 on fluorinated greenhouse gases (Official Journal of the European Union EU L150/195) which has repealed Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 entered into force on 9 June 2014 and is effective since 1 January 2015. Its new elements include the gradual reduction of the amounts of HFCs placed on the market until 2030 to one-fifth of present-day sales volumes. Regulation (EU) No 517/2014 is supplemented by implementing regulations (see list of links below). Implementing regulations which originated on the basis of Regulation (EU) No 842/2006 on fluorinated greenhouse gases remain valid until rescinded by new implementing regulations. For further information see our web page EU Regulation concerning fluorinated greenhouse gases.
Since January 2017, the EU Directive 2006/40 /EG bans fluorinated refrigerants with a global warming potential of more than 150 in the air-conditioning systems of new passenger cars and small commercial vehicles. The previous refrigerant tetrafluoroethane (R134a) with a high global warming potential can therefore no longer be used in these new vehicles. See our web page for more information about the directive.
Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009
Regulation (EC) No 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 September 2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer entered into force on 1 January 2010.
National regulation of fluorinated greenhouse gases and HFCs
Germany implemented the EU regulations on specific fluorinated greenhouse gases through the Chemicals Climate Protection Ordinance (Chemikalien - Klimaschutzverordnung – ChemKlimaschutzV). As a result of the new Regulation (EU) No 517/2014, the ordinance will be amended but remains in effect until that time.
Refill ban for R22 and other HCFC became effective on 1 January 2015
The German Environment Agency is calling attention to the ban on the use of all partially halogenated, ozone-depleting refrigerants (HCFC), including processed refrigerants. The ban entered into force pursuant to Regulation EC No 1005/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council on substances that deplete the ozone layer on 1 January 2015. It concerns both the HCFC R22 and mixtures in which it is contained. The ban on the use of fully halogenated refrigerants such as R12 and R11 has been in effect for a longer time.
The prohibition on use also covers maintenance or servicing activities which involve the refrigerant circuit.
The Working Group on Technical Issues and Implementation of the Federal/Länder Task Force Chemical Safety (Bund/Länder-Arbeitsgemeinschaft Chemikaliensicherheit (BLAC-AS FV)) has determined that activities which involve handling HFC refrigerants are no longer legal pursuant to (EC) No 1005/2009 starting 1 January 2015. The following activities in particular may be affected:
Filter drier replacement,
Repairing leaks and continued operation of system without recharging,
Pressure measurements with portable pressure gauges using hose lines and Schrader valves.
This interpretation is based on a decision by the BLAC-AS FV dated 9 July 2014.
The impact of climate change will be felt more strongly in the future – and in Germany too. This is the conclusion reached in what is called the vulnerability analysis, a comprehensive study on Germany's vulnerability to climate change.