Environment

Banned ozone-destroying chemical is probably still in use

Banned ozone-destroying chemic...
Scientists release a balloon to study the ozone layer
Scientists release a balloon to study the ozone layer
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Scientists release a balloon to study the ozone layer
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Scientists release a balloon to study the ozone layer

Back in 1987, the global community signed an agreement known as The Montreal Protocol, which called for all countries to phase out the production of ozone-layer-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). According to a new study, however, one of the most abundant CFCs is likely still being made.

Included in The Montreal Protocol was a chemical called CFC-11 (aka trichlorofluoromethane), production of which was supposed to end by 2010. It was already known that some CFC-11 gas would subsequently continue to be released by sources such as foam building insulation and appliances manufactured prior to the mid-1990s.

That's why CFC-11 is still the second-most abundant CFC in the atmosphere, although levels have dropped by 15 percent since their peak in 1993.

However, based on an analysis of remote-site readings conducted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), those levels are declining more slowly than they would if there were no new sources of CFC-11. In fact, levels recorded between 2014 and 2016 were 25 percent higher than the average from 2002 to 2012.

The source of the emissions is thought to be somewhere in East Asia.

"We're raising a flag to the global community to say, 'This is what's going on, and it is taking us away from timely recovery of the ozone layer,'" says NOAA scientist Stephen Montzka, lead author of a paper on the study. "We concluded that it's most likely that someone may be producing the CFC-11 that's escaping to the atmosphere. We don't know why they might be doing that and if it is being made for some specific purpose, or inadvertently as a side product of some other chemical process."

The paper was published this week in the journal Nature.

Source: NOAA

5 comments
JweenyPwee
Drat! If we only knew what unchecked, unregulated, rapidly industrializing east Asian country was to blame! The world may never know.
aksdad
Or maybe the whole CFCs-increase-the-ozone-hole schtick was bogus and the fluctuation in the ozone hole was completely natural. Nah. Couldn’t be that. I mean it experiences dramatic seasonal fluctuations in size as temperatures vary, but it’s just gotta be those darn CFCs, despite no measurements having ever verified the theorized causal link between CFCs and the ozone hole size.
aki009
Let me wager a guess at this point: China.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
The polar stratospheric cloud theory doesn't explain mid latitude ozone depletion.
Wolf0579
Corporations are inherently evil. Fuck them.