China to phase out super greenhouse gas

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
April 24, 2013



Some eight billion tonnes of greenhouse gases could be kept out of the atmosphere if China sticks to a deal with the United Nation's Montreal Protocol to eliminate the production of hydro-fluorocarbons (HCFCs). In return for phasing out HCFC production by 2030, the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol on Substances has promised China of funding up to $385 million.

"China will close and dismantle its production lines producing only HCFCs for uses controlled under the Montreal Protocol and ensure that any HCFC plants that will receive funding do not switch to producing HCFCs as industrial feedstock," reads a press statement from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

According to the UN, China is responsible for 92 percent of HCFC production in the developing world, making it pivotal for phasing out HCFC worldwide.

"This is an important step which demonstrates yet again the significance of the Montreal Protocol in providing effective climate mitigation through a tried and tested process," Clare Perry Senior Campaigner with the EIA says. The Montreal Protocol, which targeted ozone depleting gases worldwide, is often held up as one of the most effective treaties ever made. Since 1987, it has successfully eradicated 97 percent of ozone-depleting chemicals.

HCFCs are used in refrigeration, air conditioning, solvents, foam production, and medical sterilization, but its production can come with a hefty environmental price. HCFCs release HFC-23, a super greenhouse gas that is 14,800 time more potent than carbon over 100 years; the gas also stays in the atmosphere for 270 years. While HFC-23 can be simply destroyed before it is released into the atmosphere, Chinese companies repeatedly vent the gas into the atmosphere.

The EIA now says that attention must turn to making sure that Chinese companies immediately halt the practice of venting the super greenhouse gas, HFC-23, into the atmosphere otherwise the agreement will be a "hollow victory," according to Mark Roberts, EIA Senior Policy Advisor.

HCFCs were initially brought in as replacements for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were linked to ozone depletion.













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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (April 24, 2013).

China to phase out super greenhouse gas .

http://news.mongabay.com/2013/0424-hance-hcfc-china.html