Table of contents:
- What are fluorocarbons?
- Illegal HFCs are flooding the market
- Report illegal gases via anonymous hotline
Video: Black Market Of Illegal Refrigerants Is Growing
2023 Author: Hannah Pearcy | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 11:12
The black market for illegally imported fluorocarbons (HFCs) is growing steadily, warns the European Technical Committee for Fluorocarbons (short: EFCTC). The background to this is the EU's F-gas regulation, which was introduced five years ago and obliges industry to gradually reduce HFCs through a strict quota system. The goal is to reduce the use of F-gas by 79 percent by 2030 - alternative solutions are to be found in the transition phase.
What are fluorocarbons?
Fluorocarbons are fluorinated derivatives of hydrocarbons. HFCs are mainly used in refrigeration and air conditioning systems. The substances are also used as blowing agents in sprays, foams, insulation materials and as fire extinguishing agents.
HFCs are considered harmful to the climate because they contribute to global warming due to the greenhouse effect. Their molecules absorb the heat radiation from the earth's surface.
Customs officers regularly confiscate illegal HFCs, which are also available in large quantities on the Internet. The authorities confiscated such in Italy in February. However , it is not easy for customs to identify the quota-regulated HFCs - Complex shipping routes and sales markets make it difficult for the authority to understand the black market
Illegal HFCs are flooding the market
An initial assessment can be made five years after this regulation: While manufacturers have committed to gradually lowering it, various sources show that illegal HFCs have flooded the European market during these five years. This fact undermines Germany's progress towards the agreed climate targets.
The member companies of the EFCTC are calling on the authorities to implement the F-gas regulation more resolutely. In addition, those responsible should share best practices to contain the HFC black market within the EU. The industry is ready to work with the authorities to provide data and evidence of violations of the regulation to better support the enforcement of the F-gas regulation, the committee said.
The illegally imported HFCs are undermining the climate efforts of the EU and industry, stresses the EFCTC. Due to the poor enforcement of the regulation at the borders , many Germans could support organized crime without knowing it. This would involuntarily exceed the limitation of greenhouse gas emissions.
What changes with the new EU regulation for refrigeration and air conditioning systems
Report illegal gases via anonymous hotline
This year, the EFCTC will focus on raising awareness of HFC handling across the value chain. To this end, independent studies on the extent of HFCs illegally imported into Europe are being carried out and strategies are being developed to support the authorities in combating the black markets.
To this end, the committee has set up an action hotline where illegal F-gas products and suspicions regarding illegal F-gas trading can be reported anonymously. According to the EFCTC, over 200 reports of illegal activities were received in the first few months - 22 of them in Germany.
The EFCTC appeals to everyone involved to properly enforce existing EU environmental protection rules. Industry must put the wellbeing of the planet first. The organization points out that anyone in the industry can help report illegal activity.
To the campaign hotline