EU: Ban on Harmful AC Chemicals in Autos Starts Now

The European Union has proved that it means business when it comes to banishing climate-damaging chemicals in cars. On Tuesday, the EU refused to grant a delay, requested by auto makers, on a recent ban on certain vehicle air conditioner chemicals, Reuters reports.

In 2006, the EU decided that, starting in 2011, it would ban the use of fluorinated chemicals that significantly warm the climate when released into the atmosphere. The move highlights the emerging green refrigerant market, and that market’s struggle to overcome the existing not-so-green one.

Auto makers sought to delay the ban by two to three years, saying eliminating the refrigerants would cost an extra 40 to 200 Euros ($57 to $287) per vehicle – a tough pill for consumers to swallow during a recession, auto firms said. Car makers even found a legal loophole in the ban, by which they would have only applied the new rules to 2017-and-later car models, had the EU not closed the loophole. Some auto firms, including Mercedes and General Motors, reportedly placed orders for green air-conditioning systems, which they later retracted for unknown reasons.

The EU’s stance on the matter is clear: “The rule is in force – it has to be applied,” British lawmaker Chris Davies reportedly said. “Car makers… have had billions of Euros in support from national governments, and it is time that they took a lead in helping reach Europe’s ambitions of reducing the release of global warming gases.”

Sarah Harper is a professional writer based in San Francisco, California. Her interests include sustainability, government policy, and international politics. In her free time, Sarah enjoys toying with the idea of holistic health, overanalysis, and plotting world exploration.

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