Regulations affecting HFCs

Montreal Protocol- Kigali Amendment to phase down HFCs

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol to phase down HFCs entered into force on 1 January 2019 after the threshold for the agreement to enter into force was met on 17 November 2017, when it was ratified by 20 parties. Montreal Protocol parties continue to ratify the Amendment, which has so far been ratified by over 90 parties. More information is available here and the Amendment is available here or in the latest edition of the Montreal Protocol handbook.

The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol is projected to reduce future global average warming in 2100 due to HFCs from a baseline of 0.3-0.5 °C to less than 0.1 °C. HFC emissions are projected to peak before 2040 and decline to less than 1 GtCO2-eq yr−1 by 2100, similar to the emissions in 2016 (0.88 GtCO2-eq yr−1). Improvements in energy efficiency in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment during the transition to low-GWP alternative refrigerants can potentially double the climate benefits of the HFC phasedown of the Kigali Amendment. [Source World Meteorological Organization Global Ozone Research and Monitoring Project – Report No. 58 Executive Summary Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion: 2018].

Key features of the Kigali Amendment

  • The HFC phase-down involves a three-step approach, taking into account different situations for various groups of countries (see phase-down schedule table).
  • Requirement to destroy HFC-23, from 1 January 2020, produced during the manufacture of HCFCs or HFCs to the extent practicable using technology approved by the Parties in the same twelve-month period.
  • Licensing for the import and export of new, used, recycled and reclaimed HFCs.
  • GWPs (100 year) have been listed for CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs.
  • Other decisions: Standards: Parties are expected to work towards ensuring global industry standards enable the safe introduction of low-GWP alternatives to HFCs. Energy Efficiency: Parties are expected to agree a way forward to maximize energy efficiency in the transition out of HFCs.
  • HFOs and HCFOs are not included in the Kigali Amendment

The EU F-gas Regulation and the Kigali Amendment

In 2018, HFC consumption in the EU dropped by 38 % and was already 46 % below the first limit for the EU under the Montreal Protocol Kigali Amendment (which was to be achieved in 2019). See the “EEA Fluorinated greenhouse gases 2019” for further information.

Kigali Amendment: Phase-down schedule for HFCs in Article 5 and non-Article 5 parties

Baseline and phase-down as CO2e

A5 parties (developing countries) – Group 1

A5 parties (developing countries) – Group 2

Non-A5 parties (developed countries)

Baseline formula

Average HFC consumption for 2020-2022 + 65% of HCFC baseline

Average HFC consumption for 2024-2026 + 65% of HCFC baseline

Average HFC consumption for 2011-2013 + 15% of HCFC baseline*




1st step

2029 – 10%

2032 – 10%

2019 – 10%

2nd step

2035 – 30%

2037 – 20%

2024 – 40%

3rd step

2040 – 50%

2042 – 30%

2029 – 70%

4th step

2034 – 80%


2045 – 80%

2047 – 85%

2036 – 85%


* For Belarus, Russian Federation, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, 25% HCFC component of baseline and different initial two steps (1) 5% reduction in 2020 and (2) 35% reduction in 2025
1. Group 1: Article 5 parties not part of Group 2
2. Group 2: Countries with High Ambient Temperatures (HAT): Bahrain, India, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates
3. Technology review in 2022 and every five years
4. Technology review four to five years before 2028 to consider the compliance deferral of two years from the freeze of 2028 of Article 5 Group 2 to address growth in relevant sectors above certain threshold.

MAC Directive 2006/40/EC relating to emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles

Directive 2006/40/EC on mobile air conditioning (MAC) required all new passenger cars (and light goods vehicles) from 1 January 2017 to be filled with a refrigerant with a global warming potential (GWP) no higher than 150. The legal basis is Internal Market (Article 95 of EU Treaty) to ensure that vehicles can be marketed in all member states if they are type approved. It should be noted that the Directive does not prescribe any specific refrigerant/system to fulfil this obligation but following extensive evaluation for performance and safety HFO-1234yf was selected by almost all vehicle manufacturers as the refrigerant to replace HFC-134a.

In addition, for existing  systems containing HFC-134a, service providers offering service and repair for air-conditioning systems shall not fill such equipment with fluorinated greenhouse gases if an abnormal amount of the refrigerant has leaked from the system, until the necessary repair has been completed. More information about EU legislation to control F-Gases can be found here.