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Legislation to phase out HFCs to lower emissions passes parliament

Published: Monday, 19 June 2017

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The Turnbull Government has today successfully passed legislation to phase-down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which comprise up to two per cent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

HFCs are powerful synthetic gases used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers and insulating foam which can be thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide.

The phase-down of HFC imports under the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Management Amendment Bill 2017 will begin in 2018 and reach an 85 per cent reduction by 2036. 

Australia co-chaired the negotiations in Kigali last year that led to a global agreement of all 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol to phase-down these potent gases.

It is estimated that the global phase-down will reduce emissions by up to 72 billion tonnes by 2050 or roughly one and a third times global annual emissions. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, this action could avoid up to 0.5 degrees of temperature rises by 2100.

This phase-down builds on the successful approach taken to phase-out prior gases such as CFCs and HCFCs which is already leading to a recovery of the ozone layer.

Australia has a proud record of leadership in the Montreal Protocol, widely considered the world’s most successful environmental protection agreement and the only one with universal acceptance.

The Coalition Government’s early action on passing this legislation demonstrates our continued international leadership and will constitute a significant domestic emissions reduction of up to 80 million tonnes.

The Bill will achieve these environmental outcomes at the same time as significantly cutting red tape, including reducing the number of businesses required to hold a licence by one third, halving the reporting obligations and reducing the number of invoices sent by 94 per cent.

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