The Republic of Moldova will transpose the acquis communautaire in the field of F-Gases or Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), through a law that will gradually withdraw them from commercial use. These gases are used as refrigerants in refrigeration and air conditioning, including road transportation, and have a global warming potential of more than 14 000 times higher than CO2, and their use registers the fastest growth in recent years in Moldova, being imported annually between 90 and 180 tons of F-gas.
Limiting the use of F-gases and switching to next-generation alternative freons, including natural ones, is provided in the Kigali Amendment (2016) to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The European Environment Agency estimates that the implementation of this amendment could reduce the global temperature by up to 0.5° C by the end of the century, thus contributing to the achievement of the Paris Agreement goal of keeping the temperature rise below 2° C.
The elaboration of the new law and the Regulatory Impact Analysis is carried out with the support of the EU4Climate Project, funded by the European Union and implemented by UNDP. The process involves drafting legislation and designating the competent regulatory and monitoring authority, establishing or adapting national training and certification requirements for relevant personnel and companies, establishing the F-gases import authorisation system, establishing the reporting system for obtaining emission data in the relevant sectors and establishing an enforcement system, including fines.
Some countries introduced their own restrictions even before the Kigali Amendment, considering that if the use of F-gases will not be strictly regulated, they will pose serious climate threats. In particular, the European Union was among the first to introduce restrictions on the use of HFCs by Regulation (EC) No. 842 of 2006 and Regulation (EU) No. 517 of 2014.
If at the international level, the process of suppressing the use of hydrofluorocarbons has already started in 2019 for developed countries, then developing countries, such as Moldova, will implement them starting with 2029. Thus, during 2020 – 2022 the basic level of production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons will be estimated and established. Between 2024 -2028 the level of domestic consumption of F-gases will be frozen, and in the next period the country will undertake activities for the phased suppression of these substances, according to the timetable set in the Kigali Amendment, namely:
- 2029-2034 (stage I) – reduction of consumption by 10%;
- 2035-2039 (stage II) – reduction of consumption by 30%;
- 2040-2044 (stage III) – reduction of consumption by 50%;
- 2045 and later (stage IV) – reduction of consumption by 80% (from the basic level).
As alternatives to HFCs, hydrofluorolefins (HFOs), the fourth-generation refrigerants, are already used worldwide. Their global warming potential is small, thus reducing the impact on the environment and providing substantial energy efficiency. The transition from synthetic to natural refrigerants will dominate the evolution of the refrigeration and air conditioning equipment market in the future.
To comply with the new requirements imposed by the international community, Moldovan economic agents have already started to install state-of-the-art refrigeration systems, which operate based on less polluting natural agents, especially on the basis of CO2. New technologies, in addition to being more environmentally friendly, they are more efficient in terms of energy consumption. At the same time, existing and operated HFC-based refrigeration and air conditioning equipment can be largely adjusted to the use of next-generation alternative freons, including natural ones (hydrocarbons: propane, isobutene, isopentane; H2O, ammonia, air, helium and CO2).
The EU4Climate initiative is funded by the European Union and implemented by the United Nations Development Programme. It supports countries in implementing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and improving climate change policies and legislation. Its ambition is to limit the effects of climate change and make citizens more resilient to them. It will help Eastern Partnership countries integrate low-emission and climate resilience targets into development policies and plans, to improve and strengthen climate policies and legislative alignment.