Banned CFC emissions traced to eastern China
Researchers say they have traced the major sources of a global increase in emissions of the ozone-depleting gas CFC-11 to eastern China.
According to research published in Nature, global emissions of the banned chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) have increased since 2013, and the results indicate a violation of the universally-ratified 1980 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
The Montreal Protocol has been successful in reducing CFC emissions and restoring the ozone layer, which absorbs most of the Sun’s ultraviolet light. It has also reduced the rate of climate change, as CFCs are also greenhouse gases.
Since 2010 there has been a global ban on the production of CFCs, but in 2013 the rate of decline of the second most abundant CFC began slowing.
CFC-11 was primarily used to make insulating foams, with any remaining emissions expected to be due to leakage from old foams in building and refrigerators, which would decline over time.
However, a slower rate of decline since 2013 suggests that production and use of CFC-11 has resumed, generating thousands of tonnes of new emissions each year.
By looking at the data from different monitoring stations, researchers discovered that results from North American and Europe were consistent with gradually declining emissions, but two stations — one in Jeju Island, South Korea and the other on Hateruma Island, Japan — showed “spikes” in CFC-11 concentrations.
Using weather data, the researchers were able to simulate how plumes of CFC-11 would travel, indicating that the emissions came from eastern China.
The Chinese Government says it has already begun to clamp down on production by “rogue manufacturers” and last November several suspects were arrested in Henan province.
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