BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has closed a loophole that would have allowed car manufacturers to continue putting climate-damaging chemicals in air conditioners of new vehicles beyond a 2011 ban, a Commission document showed.
The move opens up a new market for greener refrigerants, with industry giant Honeywell International pitching its HFO-1234yf coolant against rival carbon dioxide-based systems, such as that of Austria’s Obrist Engineering.
The European Union ruled in 2006 that from 2011 it would ban the use of fluorinated chemicals, such as the industry standard known as R134a, which have a powerful climate-warming effect when released into the atmosphere.
The move aimed to help the EU meet its commitment of reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Kyoto protocol, the United Nations’ main tool against climate change.
The rules apply to all new models of car from 2011, and any new vehicle at all from 2017.