The UK is on course to meet, and go beyond, its target under the Kyoto Protocol to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 12.5 per cent. below 1990 levels by 2008–12. This target covers a basket of six greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride); the UK does not have targets under the Kyoto Protocol for the individual gases.
UK emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) in 1995—the base year chosen for measuring emissions of these gases for the Kyoto Protocol—were equivalent to 4.1 MtC, contributing about 2 per cent. of the total greenhouse gas emissions in that year.
Action to reduce fugitive emissions of HFC-23 from HCFC-22 manufacturing plants have meant that total emissions of HFCs have fallen significantly since then. This will be partly offset by an increase in emissions from end use markets such as aerosols, refrigeration and foam blowing as consumption of HFCs increases in response to the phase out of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) under the Montreal Protocol. However, reduced levels of leakage and increased use of alternative fluids are expected to limit the increase in emissions.
Overall, annual emissions of HFCs are projected to be equivalent to 2.9 MtC in 2010, a fall of 29 per cent. from 1995 levels. The expected reductions in emissions of the other five greenhouse gases covered by the Kyoto Protocol mean that the relative contribution of HFCs emissions in 2010 is projected to be the same as in 1995, at about 2 per cent. of the total UK greenhouse gas emissions.