EXPERT REACTION: Mysterious rise in CFC emissions tracked to China
A mysterious rise in emissions of an ozone layer destroying chemical, known as CFC-11, has been traced to eastern mainland China, according to international and Australian researchers. The authors say emissions from the area around the Shandong and Hebei provinces in China account for at least 40–60 per cent of the increase, which was first detected last year. They say it is likely the increase is the result of new production and use, in breach of the Montreal Protocol agreement to phase out global CFC production by 2010.
Organisation/s: CSIRO, University of Bristol
Funder: We particularly thank the NASA Upper Atmosphere Research Program for its continuing support of AGAGE, including providing modelling, field station and instrumentation support though grant NNX16AC98G to MIT, and supporting the overall experimental programme through grants NNX16AC96G and NNX16AC97G to SIO. Observations at Cape Grim are supported largely by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, the Australian Department of the Environment and Energy (DoEE) and Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA). Mace Head, Ireland, is supported by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS, UK, formerly the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)) contract 1028/06/2015 to the University of Bristol and the UK Meteorological Office. Ragged Point, Barbados is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA, USA), contract RA-133-R15-CN-0008 to the University of Bristol. M.R., L.M.W., M.F.L. and R.L.T. were supported by Natural Environment
Research Council grants NE/I021365/1, NE/I027282/1, NE/M014851/1, NE/L013088/1 and NE/N016548/1. A.L.G. is supported by NERC Independent
Research Fellowship NE/L010992/1. S.P., T.L., S.L., M.-K.P. and K.-R.K. were supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research
Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (no. NRF- 2016R1A2B2010663). Observations at Hateruma were partly supported by
the Ministry of the Environment of Japan.
Environmental science: Location of increasing CFC-11 emissions identified
Emissions from eastern mainland China account for at least 40–60% of the global rise in trichlorofluoromethane (CFC-11) emissions since 2013, according to a study published in Nature this week. This rise is likely to be the result of new production and use, which is contrary to the Montreal Protocol agreement to globally phase out CFC production by 2010.
The concentration of CFC-11 in the atmosphere has declined substantially since the mid-1990s. However, last year it was reported that there has been a slowdown in this decline since 2012. It was suggested that global CFC-11 emissions have increased, but the locations of the sources responsible for this rise had not been identified.
Sunyoung Park, Matt Rigby and colleagues combined atmospheric observations from Gosan, South Korea, and Hateruma, Japan, with global monitoring data and atmospheric chemical transport models to investigate the source of the increase. The authors report that CFC-11 emissions from eastern mainland China were approximately 7,000,000 kilograms per year higher between 2014 and 2017 than 2008–2012. They show that the increase in emissions arises primarily around the northeastern provinces of Shandong and Hebei, and that these emissions are probably the result of new, unreported production and use.
Further investigations will be needed to determine the processes that have led to the increase and the magnitude of any associated CFC-11 production.