UPDATE 1-EU parliament backs law to curb "super" greenhouse gases

Wed Mar 12, 2014 1:02pm EDT
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* Beginning of the end for HFCs in Europe - Hedegaard

* HFCs trap 23,000 times more heat than CO2

* Law in force by 2015 to cut EU HFCs by 79 pct by 2030

By Michael Szabo and Barbara Lewis

LONDON/BRUSSELS March 12 (Reuters) - The European Parliament on Wednesday backed a law to curb the use of "super" greenhouse gases used in fridges and air conditioners, which have a global warming potential thousands of times greater than carbon dioxide.

Lawmakers meeting in Strasbourg, France voted 644 to 19 in favour of a European Commission proposal to cut the use of climate-harming hydrofluorocarbons, known as HFCs or 'F-gases', by 79 percent below average 2009-2012 levels by 2030.

"Today marks the beginning of the end for fluorinated gases in Europe," said EU Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard. "Not only is this good for the climate, but also for the European industries that will invest in more innovative, cleaner alternatives."

Green MEP Bas Eickhout, one of the bill's champions, said "the scaling down of these super greenhouse gases is a significant measure" that reinforces EU leadership on the issue.

Also used in supermarket and industrial refrigeration, HFCs leak from production plants as well as during the operation and disposal of products and equipment that contain them.   Continued...