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China still using banned ozone depleting CFC-11

Date: 24 May 2019 Tags: Climate Change, Conventions

According to a recent research conducted by international team of researchers has found that China continues to use banned ozone depleting CFC-11 in violation of Montreal Protocol.

Key Findings

  • The rogue emissions of CFC-11 (accounting for 40 and 60% of total global emissions) are coming from eastern China, primarily from two heavily industrialised provinces viz. Shandong and Hebei.
  • This ban gas is still used widely in these industrial areas in China to manufacture foam insulation.
  • Between 2014 and 2017, these provinces in eastern China emitted an average of about 13,400 metric tonnes of CFC-11 per year.
  • Reason: China has world’s largest polyurethane foam market, accounting for about 40% of the world’s consumption. Chinese foam manufacturers have been illegally using CFC-11  to save on higher cost of alternatives.
  • Impact: These findings will add to international pressure on Chinese government to curtail the illegal use of CFC-11 and follow its commitments under Montreal Protocol.

About CFC-11

  • Its name is Trichlorofluoromethane. It is also called freon-11, CFC-11, or R-11. Ot is a colourless, faint ethereal, and sweetish-smelling liquid that boils around room temperature. It belongs to class of compounds called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that destroy atmospheric ozone. CFCs are also potent greenhouse gases (GHGs) that contribute to atmospheric warming. These CFCs had caused hole in atmospheric ozone layer.
  • Ban: CFCs along with CFC-11 were outlawed for almost all uses by legally binding 1987 Montreal Protocol, an international pact aimed at preserving protective ozone layer that blocks ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Excessive amounts of some types of UV radiation can cause skin cancer and eye damage in people and are harmful to crops and other vegetation.
  • Impact of Ban: Since the enforcement of Montreal Protocol, ozone hole is on the path to recovery. Besides, ban in CFC-11 has reduced its atmospheric concentration and made second-largest contribution to the decline in ozone hole since the 1990s.