Safety with fluorocarbons

At the Kyoto Conference, the EFCTC (The European Fluorocarbons Technical Committee) discussed its action plan for industries using fluorocarbons so that safe and efficient products can be launched.

EFCTC considers that fluorocarbons can contribute, if used judiciously, to stabilising and even reducing greenhouse gas emissions despite their non- negligible global warming potential. It emphasised five guiding principles:

1. Cooperation between manufacturers and governments to introduce voluntary initiatives and lay down realistic timescales and objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2. All greenhouse gases should be considered collectively.

3. To speed up the acceptance of environmentally sound technologies cutting down greenhouse gas emissions EFCTC members are in favour of developing appropriate measures, leaving it to the market to decide on the technologies to be promoted.

4. To encourage the development and implementation of new energy efficient technologies liable to reduce greenhouse and gas emissions significantly in the EU.

5. Avoiding conflicting policies by integrating health and safety considerations for the general public into strategies for reducing greenhouse gases.

A number of measures are recommended to underpin these principles:

1. Promoting energy efficiency as a main factor in reducing CO2 emissions and attention to the confinement of emission sources of greenhouse gases other than CO2.

2. Relevant energy efficiency rates should be shown on all household equipment as well as buildings consuming energy.

3. Insulating existing buildings to reduce energy losses in heating and air conditioning installations, and hence reduce CO2 emissions.

4. A good technological cooperation with developing countries, particularly in terms of technology transfer.

5. Informing the public on the impact of their behaviour as consumers is vital to make them accept the targets to be reached in view of climate changes.