Reducing emissions from fluorinated gases

Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are of concern due to their high global warming potential. This means they are estimated to have a high impact on the climate despite being emitted at relatively low quantities.

What fluorinated gases are

Fluorinated gases (F-gases) are essentially fluorine-containing substances that are gases at ambient or atmospheric conditions.

The biggest subset of F-gases is hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) which are primarily used as refrigerants. HFCs make up around 94 per cent of F-gases emissions.

Many of the current and proposed policies target either HFCs or refrigerants.

Policies, programmes and actions to reduce emissions from F-gases

As a result of the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, the Government implemented several schemes to reduce F-gas emissions. This involved imposing limits on bulk imports of HFCs as well as emissions pricing schemes under the Emissions Trading Scheme and the Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Levy.

As outlined in Aotearoa New Zealand's first emissions reduction plan, there are several future policies planned that will reduce F-gas emissions further. Prohibitions will be investigated to reduce the supply of F-gases into New Zealand and a regulated product stewardship scheme will target the main causes of emissions, leakage and improper disposal.

Cumulatively, our modelling shows that existing schemes and future policies could reduce HFC emissions by 27 to 37 per cent by 2035 and by 33 to 45 per cent by 2050 when compared to 2019 data. A significant proportion of emissions reductions would be expected to occur in later emissions budgets periods.

Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol

The rules for HFCs [EPA website]

Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Levy [EPA website]

Aotearoa New Zealand's first emissions reduction plan