There's been a mysterious rise in ozone-destroying emissions

Cesar Mills
May 17, 2018

Though production of CFCs was phased out by the Montreal Protocol, a large reservoir of CFC-11 exists today primarily contained in foam insulation in buildings, and appliances manufactured before the mid-1990s. A US observatory in Hawaii found CFC-11 mixed in with other gases that were characteristic of a source coming from somewhere in east Asia, but scientists could not narrow the source down any further.

These could hamper the recovery of the ozone hole and worsen climate change.

They were also used as propellants in aerosol sprays and in solvents.

Scientists identify mysterious rise of Ozone-destroying chemicals.

Last fall, it was reported that the hole in the Earth's ozone layer had shrunk to its smallest size since 1988, which was great news.

The decline in the atmosphere of an ozone-depleting chemical banned by the Montreal Protocol has recently slowed by half, suggesting a serious violation of the 196-nation treaty, researchers revealed Wednesday.

And so successful has Montreal been that scientists have spoken of a recovery being under way. "This suggests unreported new production". Though concentrations of CFC11 in the atmosphere are still declining, they're declining more slowly than they would if there were no new sources, Montzka said.

The forbidden emissions, ozone-depleting chemicals grow, said Wednesday a group of scientists, suggesting that someone may secretly produce a pollutant in violation of worldwide agreements.

The researchers show that CFC-11 levels, measured at a number of remote monitoring sites around the world, decreased in line with expectations between 2002 and 2011.

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"In the end, we concluded that it's most likely that someone may be producing the CFC-11 that's escaping to the atmosphere", said Montzka. It was an global treaty called the Montreal Protocol, and it worked. "We know of no production even for intermediary or side products".

And it seems to be new production on a huge scale. The chemical can be a byproduct in other chemical manufacturing, but it is supposed to be captured and recycled.

"It's disappointing, I would not have expected it to happen", said Dr Michaela Hegglin from Reading University, UK, who was not involved in the study.

"The newer substances that are out there, the replacements for CFC-11, might be more hard or expensive for some countries to produce or get at".

"I hope that somehow the global community can put pressure on South East Asian countries, maybe China, to go and look at whether they can get more information on where the emissions come from".

"They're going to find the culprits".

However, if no action is taken on the new source of emissions, it could be highly significant.

"It is therefore imperative that this finding be discussed at the next Ministerial meeting of Governments given recovery of the ozone layer is dependent on all countries complying with the Montreal Protocol (and its adjustments and amendments) with emissions globally dropping to zero".

Other reports by GizPress

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