TECHNICAL TERMS: Explain CO2 equivalents

The GWP value of substances is a simplification of the radiative efficiency values (warming effect) and compares everything to a unit of mass of carbon dioxide (CO2) over a set period of time, e.g. R-404A GWP = 3922 which means 1kg of R-404A has the equivalent warming impart of 3922kg of CO2 or to put it another way 1 kg of R-404A has 3922 CO2 equivalents (CO2e).

Since 2006, manufacturers and importers of F-Gases have had to annually declare the quantity of each F-Gas placed on the market. In 2015, the second F-Gas regulation was put in place and this introduced a HFC phasedown with the starting quantity calculated based on the average of the 2009 to 2012 HFCs placed on the market, expressed as CO2 equivalents. This allowed the user to choose the refrigerant, as long as the total CO2 equivalent of the refrigerant used was within maximum quota.

Since leaving the European Union Great Britain has continued the phasedown using a new baseline for the consumption within GB only. Moving into the future, the RAHCP and other industries using F-Gases have to move from high GWP refrigerants to low GWP refrigerants. Current legislation estimates that average GWP of F-Gases used in 2022 should approximately be 900, decreasing to 600 in 2024 and finally reaching the low level of 400 by 2030. What is the average GWP of the refrigerant you use?


For advice on refrigerant strategy talk to the experts at Climalife.


Date added: August 2022

Send an enquiry

  • In accordance with the regulations on the protection of personal data, you have the right to access, modify, rectify and delete data concerning you. To exercise this right, please contact

    Read our Privacy Policy here