LONDON:The European Commission has announced that Italy and Malta could face legal action over their continued failure to implement the European Union F-gas Regulation, which controls emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases in Europe.
On the recommendation of Connie Hedegaard, EU Commissioner for Climate Action, the Commission is sending a 'reasoned opinion' to both countries, formally requesting they take action to ensure full compliance with the F-Gas Regulation. In the absence of a satisfactory response within two months, the Commission says it may refer the cases to the European Court of Justice.
Natasha Hurley, Global Environment Campaigner with the London-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), said: “Italy and Malta have turned a blind eye to key aspects of the F-gas Regulation and we congratulate the Commission on taking this action. However it is clear that even perfect implementation of the Regulation will not sufficiently reduce F-gas emissions. A drastic overhaul is needed.”
The European Commission is in the process of reviewing the F-gas Regulation. An independent study commissioned as part of the review highlighted numerous shortcomings, including a chronic lack of implementation and enforcement across the EU. Analysis conducted by EIA shows that the current legislation has allowed emissions of HFCs, the most common type of F-gases in use in the EU, to rise by 28 per cent since it was introduced.
EIA is calling for a phase-out of most of HFCs by 2020. The Review of the F-Gas Regulation presents a unique opportunity to quickly and cheaply end emissions of one of the six main greenhouse gases in the EU, and allow Europe to take the lead in international efforts to develop greener refrigeration and air-conditioning.