Scientists probe suspicious rise in CFCs

Зафиксирована новая угроза озоновому слою

Зафиксирована новая угроза озоновому слою

Despite having been banned, emissions of a chemical found to create holes in the ozone layer have skyrocketed in recent years, according to a new study-leading scientists to wonder whether the pollutant is being secretly manufactured somewhere on Earth.

The UN Environment said: "The Scientific Assessment Panel of the Montreal Protocol, which includes the authors of the report, will finalise its quadrennial assessment by the end of the year and we expect these findings to be presented to the parties to the Montreal Protocol, who will carefully review and address them".

That said, if the prompt action isn't taken as soon as possible, these emissions can prove to be a major roadblock and delay the recovery of ozone. CFC can still be leaked when old refrigerators are scrapped, for example.

Scientists worked for years to prove that certain manmade chemicals were slowly eating away at the precious layer of ozone surrounding the planet and, one they did so, most developed countries agreed to stop using them.

The 1987 Montreal Protocol banned industrial aerosols such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that were chemically dissolving ozone, especially above Antarctica. As expected, CFC-11 levels have been declining since the chemical was banned and production phased out.

Scientists have been carefully gathering data from air monitoring stations around the world ever since to make sure everything is progressing as anticipated. This means that the total concentration of ozone-depleting chemicals, overall, is still decreasing in the atmosphere.

The researchers found that emissions of CFC-11 were between 2014 and 2016 up by a quarter from the average between 2002 and 2012.

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At its most depleted, around the turn of the 21st century, the ozone layer had declined by about five percent. Since 2006, countries have reported close to zero production of CFC-11. The toxic CFC-11 is completely banned across the globe.

But Mr. Doniger noted that the Montreal Protocol, which has been signed by almost 200 countries, has a strong track record of compliance, with countries often reporting their own violations.

The researchers are puzzled as to what the motivation for any unauthorised new production might be.

"It's disappointing, I would not have expected it to happen", said Dr Michaela Hegglin from Reading University, UK, who was not involved in the study. Alternatives have always been available, though they are more expensive to manufacture, the Washington Post reports. But it looks like somebody failed to get the memo. "They should tell the industries that's not going to work". Emissions of this CFC to the atmosphere reached about 386,000 tons per year at their peak later in the decade.

However, if no action is taken on the new source of emissions, it could be highly significant.

"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 NOAA scientist Stephen Montzka, lead author of the paper, which has co-authors from CIRES, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands. The substance is also a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

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