Ozone hole mystery: China insulating chemical said to be source of rise

Ozone hole mystery: China insulating chemical said to be source of rise

SOURCE: BBC News DATE: July 9, 2018 SNIP: Cut-price Chinese home insulation is being blamed for a massive rise in emissions of a gas, highly damaging to the Earth’s protective ozone layer. The Environmental Investigations Agency (EIA) found widespread use of CFC-11 in China, even though the chemical was fully banned back in 2010. Scientists have been extremely puzzled by the mysterious rise in emissions. But this report suggests the key source is China’s home construction industry. Just two months ago, researchers published a study showing that the expected decline in the use of CFC-11 after it was completely banned eight years ago had slowed to a crawl. CFC-11 makes a very efficient “blowing agent” for polyurethane foam, helping it to expand into rigid thermal insulation that’s used in houses to cut energy bills and reduce carbon emissions. One seller of CFC-11 estimated that 70% of China’s domestic sales used the illegal gas. The reason is quite simple – CFC-11 is better quality and much cheaper than the alternatives. The authorities have banned CFC-11 but enforcement of the regulation is poor. “We were absolutely gobsmacked to find that companies very openly confirmed using CFC-11 while acknowledging it was illegal,” Avipsa Mahapatra from EIA told BBC News. “The fact that they were so blasé about it, the fact that they told us very openly how pervasive it is in the market, these were shocking findings for us.” This is a big deal because of the amount of the dodgy chemical being used and its potential to reverse the healing that’s starting to take place in the ozone layer. China’s polyurethane...
An unexpected and persistent increase in global emissions of ozone-depleting CFC-11

An unexpected and persistent increase in global emissions of ozone-depleting CFC-11

SOURCE: Nature and The Outline DATE: May 28, 2018 SNIP: The Montreal Protocol was designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by enabling reductions in the abundance of ozone-depleting substances such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the atmosphere. The reduction in the atmospheric concentration of trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) has made the second-largest contribution to the decline in the total atmospheric concentration of ozone-depleting chlorine since the 1990s. However, CFC-11 still contributes one-quarter of all chlorine reaching the stratosphere, and a timely recovery of the stratospheric ozone layer depends on a sustained decline in CFC-11 concentrations. A simple model analysis of our findings suggests an increase in CFC-11 emissions of 13 ± 5 gigagrams per year (25 ± 13 per cent) since 2012, despite reported production being close to zero since 2006. The increase in emission of CFC-11 appears unrelated to past production; this suggests unreported new production, which is inconsistent with the Montreal Protocol agreement to phase out global CFC production by 2010. “I’ve been making measurements of long-lived gases in the atmosphere for nearly three decades. And this is the most surprising and unexpected thing I’ve seen.” — Stephen Montzaka, a chemist who studies and monitors CFCs for The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association...