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Emissions from air conditioning systems in motor vehicles

Technical harmonisation relating to emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles supplements the measures taken by the European Union (EU) on the reduction of fluorinated greenhouse gases.

ACT

Directive 2006/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 relating to emissions from air conditioning systems in motor vehicles and amending Council Directive 70/156/EEC.

SUMMARY

In accordance with the objective of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce the CO2 gas emissions that are causing climate change, the Directive aims to cut back the emissions of fluorinated greenhouse gases used in air conditioning systems * in motor vehicles. It thus averts any obstacles which may arise, within the internal market, from the adoption by the Member States of different technical requirements on this aspect.

The Directive therefore provides for the gradual prohibition of air conditioning systems designed to contain fluorinated gases with a global warming potential higher than 150 *.

Technical provisions

The Directive makes provision, first of all, for controlling leakages from air conditioning systems designed to contain greenhouse gases with a global warming potential higher than 150. Such air conditioning systems are therefore banned by a transitional measure, unless the rate of leakage from that system does not exceed the maximum permissible limits. This measure shall apply to all new vehicle types as from 21 June 2008 and to new vehicles from 21 June 2009.

As a second stage, the Directive provides for a total ban on air conditioning systems designed to contain fluorinated greenhouse gases with a global warming potential higher than 150. The ban covers all new vehicle types from 1 January 2011 and applies to all new vehicles from 1 January 2017.

The Directive also lays down provisions on the retrofitting and refilling of air conditioning systems.

Scope

The vehicles covered by the Directive are passenger cars (category M1 vehicles) and light commercial vehicles (category N1, class 1 vehicles).

Directive 2006/40/EC is the first stage of a legislative package on air conditioning systems. New legislation will supply the administrative provisions concerning the EC type-approval procedure and a harmonised leakage detection test in order to measure the leakage rate of fluorinated gases with a global warming potential higher than 150.

Background

Following the approval of the Kyoto Protocol by the European Union (EU) (Decision 2002/358/EC) and, therefore, the commitment made to reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, several Member States planned to regulate emissions from air-conditioning systems in motor vehicles. In order to avoid a situation where differing regulations impede the free movement of motor vehicles within the internal market, it is necessary to harmonise the technical specifications concerning air conditioning systems. This Directive forms part of the EC type-approval procedure.

Key terms
  • Air-conditioning system: any system whose main purpose is to decrease the air temperature and humidity of the passenger compartment of a vehicle.
  • Global warming potential (GWP): the climatic warming potential of a fluorinated greenhouse gas relative to that of carbon dioxide. It is calculated in terms of the 100 year warming potential of one kilogram of a gas relative to one kilogram of CO2. The relevant GWP figures are those published in the third assessment report adopted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2001 IPCC GWP values).

REFERENCES

ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 2006/40/EC

4.7.2006

4.1.2008

OJ L 161, 14.6.2006

RELATED ACTS

Commission Regulation (EC) No 706/2007 of 21 June 2007 laying down, pursuant to Directive 2006/40/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council, administrative provisions for the EC type-approval of vehicles, and a harmonised test for measuring leakages from certain air conditioning systems [Official Journal L 161, 22.06.2007].

Commission Directive 2007/37/EC of 21 June 2007 amending Annexes I and III to Council Directive 70/156/EEC on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the type approval of motor vehicles and their trailers [Official Journal L 161, 22.06.2007].

Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases [Official Journal L 161, 14.6.2006].
The EU lays down rules for the containment, use, recovery and destruction of certain fluorinated greenhouse gases, the labelling of products and equipment containing them, the reporting of information on them, the prohibition of the placing on the market of products and equipment containing them, and the training and certification of personnel in relation to them.

Last updated: 04.07.2011
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