HFC emissions in the EU cut by 20% between 2015 and 2021

The latest figures published by the EEA illustrate the impact of the F-gas Regulation on HFC emissions in the EU 

According to the European Environment Agency Annual EU greenhouse gas inventory 1990-2021 and inventory report 2023 (1), total greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions – including indirect emissions – in the EU amounted to 3311 million tonnes CO2 equivalent in 2021, 30% below 1990 levels. Emissions increased by 6.2 % or 193 million tonnes CO2 eq between 2020 and 2021. However, emissions in 2021 remained below the 2019 pre-COVID-19 pandemic level (3 477 million tonnes CO2 eq). 

Fluorinated gas (F-gas) emissions accounted for 2.1% of total EU GHG emissions in 2021. F-gas emissions amounted to 78 Mt CO2 eq, 57 % above 1990 levels but 4% below 2020 levels. Refrigeration and air conditioning, accounted for 82% of F-gas emissions in 2021. 

HFC emissions in 2021 reached 70 Mt CO2 eq, to be compared to 73 Mt in 2020 and 87 Mt in 2015 (20% drop).  

The peak in emissions, reached in 2015, and the evolution of emissions after that date (see diagram below) show the beneficial effect of the F-gas Regulation implemented in 2014, which introduced a phase-down of HFCs. Prior to 2015, unlike total GHG emissions, HFC emissions were increasing due to the shift from HCFCs to HFCs within the framework of the Montreal Protocol. 


(1) https://www.eea.europa.eu//publications/annual-european-union-greenhouse-gas-2  

Comparison of the evolution of total GHG and HFC emissions, graph