Industry pins hopes on EU enforcement pledge to end illegal F-gas imports

Chemicals firms are hoping the widespread flouting of rules on marketing fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) in the EU could be stamped out after the European Commission made stricter enforcement a key objective when unveiling its new industrial strategy this week.

Such gases, mainly hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are widely used as refrigerants, are far more potent at trapping heat in the atmosphere than CO2 and currently subject to a Europe-wide 'phase down' under the 2015 F-Gas Regulation.

However, numerous studies and action by police and customs officials have revealed widespread flouting of import controls, and the ease with which F-gases can be ordered from unscrupulous suppliers on the internet. With F-gases contributing an estimated 2.35% to the greenhouse effect, illegal traders have been blamed for undermining EU climate action.

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