Japan Japan, 12th Joint meeting on Fluorocarbon Countermeasures by Industrial Structure Council and Central Environment Council

Japan, 12th Joint meeting on Fluorocarbon Countermeasures by Industrial Structure Council and Central Environment Council

On March 28, 2022, a joint meeting was held on Fluorocarbon Countermeasures of the Industrial Structure Council and the Central Environment Council. In 2013, the “Fluorocarbons Recovery and Destruction Act” was amended to the “Act on Rational Use and Proper Management of Fluorocarbons” (abbreviation: Fluorocarbon Emissions Control Act) to comprehensively cover the entire life cycle of fluorocarbons. After five years have passed since the enforcement, the enforcement status and issues of the law were examined. At the meeting, the results of the investigation asking the filling and recovery operator about the effects of the revision of the law and the stakeholder investigation on the proposal regarding the transfer of the supervisory authority of the manager from the prefecture to the core city were reported and deliberated. In addition, based on these surveys, the “Report on evaluation and examination of the enforcement status of the Revised Fluorocarbon Emissions Control Act (Draft)” was submitted regarding future efforts. It was decided that some additional items would be left to the chairpersons, but the content of the report was generally accepted.

Situations and issues five years after the enforcement of the Fluorocarbon Emissions Control Act

60% of filling and recovery operators evaluate that setting filling standards with the filling business as a registration system is effective in preventing leaks, but there are still many issues with the system. There was an opinion that the people concerned should be thoroughly informed, an opinion that an illegal filling and recovery act was pointed out, and an opinion that the registration and reporting should be simplified. It was pointed out that the need for digitization of report of amount recovered is high but has not progressed, and the low awareness of customers and primary contractors is an issue. In the future, it was suggested that it would be necessary to digitize the filling and recovery amount report and to report the refrigerant type in more detail, taking into consideration the circumstances of various filling and recovery operators.

Regarding the transfer of authority, the opinions of prefectures are divided, but more than 80% of the accepting core cities opposed the transfer. The problem of the receiving side’s ability and the fact that the management authority is different from other environmental laws and regulations such as climate change prevention make it difficult to create a unified management system, and there was a strong opinion that the transfer of authority was premature.

Report on evaluation and examination of the enforcement status of the Revised Fluorocarbon Emissions Control Act

Since the Fluorocarbon Emissions Control Act revised in 2013 has passed five years since its enforcement, this report evaluates the enforcement status of each of the revised matters, extracts the issues facing them, and a compilation of measures to be taken in the future.

In the report submitted this time, Chapter 1 describes the background and contents of the 2013 revision, and Chapter 2 describes changes in fluorocarbon emissions since the revision and policies such as countermeasures on global warming and carbon neutrality.  Chapter 3 evaluates the enforcement status of the law and measures. Chapter 4 describes the transfer of authority, and Chapter 5 describes points to keep in mind when proceeding with measures for carbon neutrality.

Regarding the evaluation and examination of the enforcement status of Chapter 3, as an initiative for gas manufacturers, the authorities have confirmed the phasedown status of fluorocarbons, reviewed future usage prospects, and set new reduction targets. For equipment and product manufacturers, they have confirmed the status of conversion of products using fluorocarbons to non-fluorocarbon and lower GWP, and have determined that the Designated Product System is effective. For equipment users, they checked the refrigerant management status and evaluated the prevention of leakage such as legal inspection during use and the report at the time of leakage and filling and recovery. But inspection and leakage prevention measures by IoT technology, digitization of reports, etc. are cited as issues.

As an initiative toward carbon neutrality in 2050, equipment manufacturers are required to aim for the development and popularization of ultra-low GWP refrigerants with a GWP of about 10 or less in 2036, at the same time, it is necessary to deal with combustibility, toxicity and performance deterioration, etc. In order to accelerate the conversion to green refrigerants and equipment and aim for a lower GWP, it is necessary to continue the Top Runner Program, set lower GWP target values and target years, and review designated products.