Is STEK as Good as Reported? Uncertainties in the Concept Underlying the Proposed European Regulation on Fluorinated Gases

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases) are synthetic compounds that form part of a basket of six greenhouse gases, which the EU has committed to reducing by 8% below 1990 levels in the 2008-2012 commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. In an attempt to limit emissions of F-gases in the EU, the European Commission proposed a Regulation. The approach to refrigerants emerged from recommendations of the European Climate Change Programme, and is modelled on a system in place in the Netherlands, known as ‘STEK.’ STEK is said to have reduced Dutch emissions of F-gases by more than half in five years. An analysis of an extension of STEK to the rest of Europe, by Enviros consultants on behalf of the European Commission, showed that other Member States might similarly halve business as usual emissions to 5.5% annually by 2010, if they employ a similar approach. however, this research shows that such reductions are anything but certain, and that alternative approaches may need to be considered more seriously.