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"Always a two-way street" - Interview with Philip Owen

12/2020 , Publication - Video :

The European Union was one of the first movers regarding F-gas regulation and HCFC phase-out. As part of the SPODS project in Latin America and the Caribbean, we had the pleasure of interviewing Philip Owen of the European Commission.

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The European Union is considered a pioneer in F-gas regulation. In order to pass on this early experience, the EU, together with BMZ, supports seven countries in Latin America and the Caribbean in reaching their targets of ODS phase-out and early actions on HFC. The SPODS project is about policy advice, strategy development, training, new cooling technologies and much more. In this interview we ask Philip Owen four questions and talk about objectives, benefits and lessons learned.

#1: Lessons learned

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Preparations of the European F-gas regulation began as early as 2006. The official phase-out followed in 2014. What lessons learned should be passed on to subsequent countries? Data capture and trainings are two key elements. Philip Owen also emphasises the labelling of energy-efficient appliances to give consumers more orientation. "It is already possible to move away today from HCFC straight to alternatives" he says and brings up the example of split AC based on propane.

#2: About SPODS 

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Why are projects like SPODS so important? Philip Owen has many answers to this question. It is crucial to get the knowledge into the market so that the technologies are available. Furthermore, the trainings conducted within the SPODS project are an important part.  Another aspect is the networking effect. "A problem shared is a problem halved", says Philip Owen.

#3: Reaching European and international targets 

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How does SPODS help to reach European and international targets in the field of ozone and climate protection? First of all, it is important to emphasize that "The climate challenge is not a European challenge, it's a global challenge." The EU was one of the first movers and can show in this project that a HFCF phase-down is possible and can provide tools to facilitate implementation. "And perhaps they can do it better than we can", he adds with a smile.


#4: Learning from Latin America and the Caribbean

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Asked the other way around: What can the EU learn from the SPODS partners in Latin America and the Caribbean? There's a lot! The experience with the use of refrigerants and technologies in hot and humid climates is very valuable.  "Engineers will report back and we will learn from this", says Philip Owen. He concludes that "All the projects are always a two-way street." Here we are sharing both, the policy aspect and the effective deployment of the technologies.


Many thanks to Philip Owen for this enriching interview!