Pollutant Information: Hydrofluorocarbons 

About Hydrofluorocarbons

Category: Greenhouse gases

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) contribute to climate change due to their positive radiative forcing effect. Hydrofluorocarbons have a range of global warming potentials (GWP), which are much higher than that of carbon. However, the small quantities emitted mean that despite the high GWP values of the individual gases, the total contribution to GWP weighted greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is small.

HFC emissions can arise from the manufacture of halocarbon chemicals including HFCs themselves, and from the use of HFCs for various purposes. Total emissions of HFCs have increased by 14% over 1990-2014. Although there has been a large reduction in emissions from halocarbon production since 1998, this has been offset increases in HFC use as replacements for HCFCs and other ozone depleting substances. However, tighter regulations on the use of HFCs are controlling the increase in emissions from their use. Refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) use is the largest source and contributed almost all (82%) of the total HFC emissions in 2014. Emissions from HFC use in RAC arise due to leakage from refrigeration and air conditioning equipment during its lifetime, in their manufacture and during the recovery of the refrigerants on decommissioning.

» View and Download Hydrofluorocarbons emission summary data

Time series graph


Notable events

Start year End year Sector Information Impact
1995 2011 Production Processes F-Gas manufacture (2E1, HFC by product emissions from HCFC manufacture) installation of abatement equipment at the two of the three manufacturing plant. Decrease in emissions
1998 2011 Halocarbons Use Growth in emissions from HFC use in Air Conditioning and refrigeration and aerosols and meter dose inhalers as ozone depleting HCFCs are replaced with HFC. Increase in emissions