May 17, 2018
Emissions of a banned, ozone-depleting chemical are on the rise, a group of scientists reported Wednesday, suggesting someone may be secretly manufacturing the pollutant in violation of an international accord.
Emissions of CFC-11 have climbed 25 per cent since 2012, despite the chemical being part of a group of ozone pollutants that were phased out under the 1987 Montreal Protocol.
Scientists suspect banned chemical that destroys ozone layer being secretly manufactured
“I’ve been making these measurements for more than 30 years and this is the most surprising thing I’ve seen,” said Stephen Montzka, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who led the work. “I was astounded by it really.”
It’s a distressing result for what’s widely seen as a global environmental success story, in which nations — alarmed by a growing “ozone hole” — collectively took action to phase out chlorofluorocarbons.
The finding seems likely to prompt an international investigation into the mysterious source.
Officially, production of CFC-11 is supposed to be at or near zero — at least, that is what countries have been telling the United Nations body that monitors and enforces the Protocol. But with emissions on the rise, scientists suspect someone is making the chemical in defiance of the ban.
“Somebody’s cheating,” said Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development and an expert on the Montreal Protocol, in a comment on the new research. “There’s some slight possibility there’s an unintentional release, but . . . they make it clear there’s strong evidence this is actually being produced.”
But for now, the scientists don’t know exactly who, or where, that person would be. A U.S. observatory in Hawaii found CFC-11 mixed in with other gases that were characteristic of a source coming from somewhere in east Asia, but scientists could not narrow the source down any further.
Zaelke said he was surprised by the findings, not just because the chemical has long been banned, but also because alternatives already exist, making it hard to imagine what the market for CFC-11 today would be.
The research was led by researchers with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration with help from scientists in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Their results were published in the journal Nature.
There is a small chance that there is a more innocent explanation for the rise in CFC-11 emissions, the scientist say.
They considered a range of alternative explanations for the growth, such as a change in atmospheric patterns that gradually remove CFC gases in the stratosphere, an increase in the rate of demolition of buildings containing old residues of CFC-11, or accidental production.
But they concluded these sources could not explain the increase, which they calculated at about 13 billion grams per year in recent years. Rather, the evidence “strongly suggests” a new source of emissions, the scientists wrote.
“These considerations suggest that the increased CFC-11 emissions arise from new production not reported to UNEP’s Ozone Secretariat, which is inconsistent with the agreed phase-out of CFC production in the Montreal Protocol by 2010,” the researchers wrote.
CFC-11, used primarily for foams, can lasts up to 50 years in the atmosphere once it’s released. It is only destroyed in the stratosphere, some 9 to 18 miles above the planet’s surface, where the resulting chlorine molecules engage in a string of ozone-destroying chemical reactions. That loss of ozone, in turn, weakens our protection from UV radiation at the Earth’s surface.
The chemical is also a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.
The paper’s findings are “environmentally and politically quite serious,” said Robert Watson, the former NASA scientist who organized bracing flights high into the Antarctic stratosphere to study ozone depletion in the 1980s, in an emailed statement.
“It is not clear why any country would want to start to produce, and inadvertently release, CFC-11, when cost effective substitutes have been available for a long while,” Watson continued.
“It is therefore imperative that this finding be discussed at the next Ministerial meeting of Governments given recovery of the ozone layer is dependent on all countries complying with the Montreal Protocol (and its adjustments and amendments) with emissions globally dropping to zero.”
Watson suggested that aircraft flights might be necessary to better identify the source of the emissions.
Keith Weller, a spokesman for the United Nations Environment Program, which administers the Montreal Protocol, said the findings will have to be verified by the scientific panel to the Protocol, and then would be put before the treaty’s member countries.
“If these emissions continue unabated, they have the potential to slow down the recovery of the ozone layer,” Weller said in a statement. “It is therefore, critical that we take stock of this science, identify the causes of these emissions and take necessary action.”
Unreported production of CFC-11 outside of certain specific carve-out purposes in the treaty would be a “violation of international law,” Weller confirmed, though he said that the Protocol is “non-punitive” and the remedy would probably involve a negotiation with the offending party, or country.
But Zaelke thought the finding could promote tougher action.
“This treaty cannot afford not to follow its tradition and keep its compliance record,” he said.
“They’re going to find the culprits. This insults everybody who’s worked on this for the last 30 years. That’s a tough group of people.”
Overall, it is important to underscore that the ozone layer is slowly recovering and ozone-depleting substances are still declining. But the apparent increase in emissions of CFC-11 has slowed the rate of decrease by about 22 percent, the scientists found. This, in turn, will delay the ozone layer’s recovery, and in the meantime leave it more vulnerable to other threats.
“Knowing how much time and effort and resources have gone into healing the ozone layer, and to see this is a shocker, frankly,” said Montzka.
Latest News
Top news around the world
Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
Julia Fox defends viral ‘Uncut Gems’ interview moment: ‘I was stoned’ | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
4m-p0_-ePd8
Alexia Echevarria pushed ‘RHOM’ producers to show more of son Frankie’s recovery | Page Six
February 17, 2022
E-wTaN9NfkI
Pete Davidson rejoins Instagram amid Kanye West drama | Page Six Celebrity News
February 17, 2022
SsC3dmsI6t4
Aaron Rodgers And Shailene Woodley Reportedly Break Up | TMZ LIVE
February 17, 2022
FoErdRE8Qe4
Chet Hanks Done Talking About Famous Parents, Becoming Personal Trainer | TMZ
February 16, 2022
5_UrULOkQ6o
Woman Stabbed at Foot Locker During Nike Shoe Release
February 16, 2022
TfuXMs1JdVg
Steph's Freaky Side, "Summer House" & "Love During Lockup"
February 17, 2022
9W_raO0zlA8
Tay or Nay, Offset's Sushi Anxiety & Nick on Monogamy
February 17, 2022
PauYHpJRA6o
Kim Kardashian & North West TWINNING in Matching Pajamas | E! News
February 17, 2022
b-_Oib6R108
Adam McKay - Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony
February 17, 2022
tYtzsHoOZzo
Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and the Cast of 'Uncharted' Talk Most Challenging Stunts
February 15, 2022
d3ksX-SKi8c
Ryan Reynolds and Walker Scobell on ‘The Adam Project’, ‘Deadpool’, and Possible ‘Star Wars’ Role
February 16, 2022
5TxJsbJr9Dk
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
04
May
CONCACAF CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Playoffs
Seattle Sounders - Pumas
04
May
USA: Major League Soccer
FC Cincinnati - Toronto FC
03
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Bournemouth - Nottingham Forest
02
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Brentford
02
May
ENGLAND: Championship
Fulham - Luton
02
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Getafe - Real Betis
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Bayer Leverkusen - Eintracht Frankfurt
02
May
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Monchengladbach - RB Leipzig
02
May
ITALY: Serie A
Atalanta - Salernitana
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Leicester City
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Mallorca
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Bologna
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Arsenal
01
May
ENGLAND: Premier League
Everton - Chelsea
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Fiorentina
01
May
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Venezia
01
May
SPAIN: La Liga
Rayo Vallecano - Real Sociedad
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Mainz - Bayern Munich
30
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Bochum
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Newcastle United - Liverpool
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Athletic Bilbao - Atletico Madrid
30
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Leeds - Manchester City
30
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Espanyol
30
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Napoli - Sassuolo
28
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Chelsea
27
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Liverpool - Villarreal
27
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Bologna - Inter Milan
26
Apr
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Semifinal
Manchester City - Real Madrid
25
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Sassuolo - Juventus
24
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Rayo Vallecano
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lazio - AC Milan
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Everton
24
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - West Ham United
24
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Empoli - Napoli
23
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Tottenham Hotspur
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.