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Nature_and_Environment.7

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Global Climate Change

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{Nature_and_Environment.7.546}: Jay Hoffman {resist} Wed, 22 Jan 2020 00:22:23 CST (48 lines)

Despite reports that global emissions of the potent greenhouse gas
hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) were almost eliminated in 2017, an
international team of scientists, led by the University of Bristol,
has found atmospheric levels growing at record values.

Over the last two decades, scientists have been keeping a close eye on
the atmospheric concentration of a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gas, known
as HFC-23. This gas has very few industrial applications. However,
levels have been soaring because it is vented to the atmosphere during
the production of another chemical widely used in cooling systems in
developing countries.

Scientists are concerned, because HFC-23 is a very potent greenhouse
gas, with one tonne of its emissions being equivalent to the release
of more than 12,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. Starting in 2015, India
and China, thought to be the main emitters of HFC-23, announced
ambitious plans to abate emissions in factories that produce the gas.
As a result, they reported that they had almost completely eliminated
HFC-23 emissions by 2017.

In response to these measures, scientists were expecting to see global
emissions drop by almost 90 percent between 2015 and 2017, which
should have seen growth in atmospheric levels grind to a halt. Now, an
international team of researchers has shown that concentrations
increased, setting an all-time record in 2018. The paper is published
today in Nature Communications.

Dr. Matt Rigby, who co-authored the study, is a reader in atmospheric
chemistry at the University of Bristol and a member of the Advanced
Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (AGAGE), which measures the
concentration of greenhouse gases around the world. He said, "When we
saw the reports of enormous emissions reductions from India and China,
we were excited to take a close look at the atmospheric data. This
potent greenhouse gas has been growing rapidly in the atmosphere for
decades now, and these reports suggested that the rise should have
almost completely stopped in the space of two or three years. This
would have been a big win for climate."

The fact that this reduction has not materialized, and that, instead,
global emissions have actually risen, is a puzzle that may have
implications for the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty that
was designed to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. In 2016,
Parties to the Montreal Protocol signed the Kigali Amendment, aiming
to reduce the climate impact of HFCs, whose emissions have grown in
response to their use as replacements to ozone depleting substances.

"https://phys.org/news/2020-01-emissions-potent-greenhouse-gas-
contradicting.html"

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