Legislation to phase down HFCs passes parliament

Tuesday, 20 June, 2017

The Turnbull government has successfully passed legislation to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) — powerful synthetic gases used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers and insulating foam. Comprising up to 2% of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, HFCs can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The phase-down of HFC imports under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Bill 2017 will begin in 2018 and reach an 85% reduction by 2036. Australia co-chaired the negotiations in Kigali last year that led to a global agreement of all 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol to phase down these potent gases.

It is estimated that the global phase-down will reduce emissions by up to 72 billion tonnes by 2050, or roughly one and a third times global annual emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, this action could avoid up to 0.5°C of temperature rises by 2100.

According to Minister for the Environment and Energy Josh Frydenberg, the government’s early action on passing the legislation will constitute a significant domestic emissions reduction of up to 80 million tonnes.

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