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Banned Chemical Responsible For Antarctic Ozone Hole

After considering a number of possible causes, researchers concluded that CFC emissions must have increased after 2012.

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Emissions of a banned chemical most responsible for the giant Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, according to a study which suggests that an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010 is being violated.
Ozone Hole Representational Image. Pixabay

Emissions of a banned chemical most responsible for the giant Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, according to a study which suggests that an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010 is being violated.

Trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is the second-most abundant ozone-depleting gas in the atmosphere and a member of the family of chemicals most responsible for the giant hole in the ozone layer that forms over Antarctica each September.

Once widely used as a foaming agent, production of CFC-11 was phased out by the Montreal Protocol in 2010.

The new study, published in the journal Nature, documents an unexpected increase in emissions of this gas, likely from new, unreported production.

“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 from ozone depletion,'” said Stephen Montzka, scientist at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

“Further work is needed to figure out exactly why emissions of CFC-11 are increasing and if something can be done about it soon,” said Montzka.

CFCs were once widely used in the manufacture of aerosol sprays, as blowing agents for foams and packing materials, as solvents, and as refrigerants.

Though production of CFCs was phased out by the Montreal Protocol, a large reservoir of CFC-11 exists today primarily contained in foam insulation in buildings, and appliances manufactured before the mid-1990s. A smaller amount of CFC-11 also exists today in chillers.

Since CFC-11 still accounts for one-quarter of all chlorine present in today’s stratosphere, expectations for the ozone hole to heal by mid-century depend on an accelerating decline of CFC-11 in the atmosphere as its emissions diminish – which should happen with no new CFC-11 production.

Emissions of a banned chemical most responsible for the giant Antarctic ozone hole are on the rise, according to a study which suggests that an international treaty that required an end to its production in 2010 is being violated.
Chemical Emission is the main reason of the hole in Ozone layer above Antarctica. Pixabay

Despite the increase in CFC-11 emissions, its concentration in the atmosphere continues to decrease, but only about half as fast as the decline observed a few years ago, and at a substantially slower rate than expected.

This means that the total concentration of ozone-depleting chemicals, overall, is still decreasing in the atmosphere. However, that decrease is significantly slower than it would be without the new CFC emissions.

Precise measurements of global atmospheric concentrations of CFC-11 made by scientists at 12 remote sites around the globe show that CFC-11 concentrations declined at an accelerating rate prior to 2002 as expected.

Then the rate of decline hardly changed over the decade that followed. Even more unexpected was that the rate of decline slowed by 50 per cent after 2012.

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After considering a number of possible causes, researchers concluded that CFC emissions must have increased after 2012.

This conclusion was confirmed by other changes recorded in NOAA’s measurements during the same period, such as a widening difference between CFC-11 concentrations in the northern and southern hemispheres – evidence that the new source was somewhere north of the equator.

Measurements from Hawaii indicate the sources of the increasing emissions are likely in eastern Asia. More work will be needed to narrow down the locations of these new emissions, Montzka said. (IANS)

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Urban Consumption Accounts for 10% of Global Emissions

Urban consumption-based emissions must be cut by at least 50 per cent by 2030

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Without urgent action, those emissions will nearly double by 2050. Pixabay

Consumption-based emissions from nearly 100 of the world’s big cities already represent 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, a new study said on Wednesday.

Without urgent action, those emissions will nearly double by 2050.

The study by C40 Cities revealed an incredible opportunity for cities and their citizens to contribute even more to the global effort to cut emissions and address the climate emergency.

The research tiled ‘The future of urban consumption in a 1.5 degrees Celsius world’ was produced in partnership with Arup – The University of Leeds, and cautioned that urban consumption-based emissions must be cut by at least 50 per cent by 2030 in order to maintain the possibility of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.

Urban, Global, Emissions
Consumption-based emissions from nearly 100 of the world’s big cities already represent 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Pixabay

When combined with firm city efforts to reduce local emissions, this would allow cities to deliver 35 per cent of the emission savings needed to put them on a path to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

High income areas, which generate the bulk of emissions, need to cut their emissions much faster — two-thirds by 2030. Fortunately, the research finds that if nations, business, cities and citizens take ambitious climate action over the next 10 years, cities will be on track to reduce their emissions in line with a 1.5 degrees Celsius world.

“Stopping the climate crisis requires keeping global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Transforming the global economy to deliver on that goal will require action on a scale never seen before in peacetime,” said Mark Watts, Executive Director of C40 Cities.

“This is a wake-up call for all leaders, business, and citizens to consider both the local and global climate impact of the things they consume, and an opportunity to better engage citizens and businesses in solving the climate emergency.

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The report explores six sectors where leaders, businesses, and citizens in the world’s cities can take rapid action to address consumption-based emissions: food, construction, clothing, vehicles, aviation, and electronics.

There is significant potential to cut consumption-based emissions in these sectors.

Together these actions would save around 1.5 GtCO2e per year by 2030. When combined with existing city climate commitments, this would deliver 35 per cent of necessary reductions in consumption-based emissions needed to put C40 cities on a 1.5 degrees Celsius trajectory. (IANS)