View all news

Newly published research finds global emissions of several banned ozone-destroying chemicals are increasing

4 April 2023

Dr Luke Western, Marie Curie Research Fellow in the School of Chemistry, was the lead author of a new publication which has found that global emissions of several banned ozone-destroying chemicals are increasing.

The findings, published in Nature Geoscience, was jointly led by the University of Bristol and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Although the production of ozone-destroying chemicals - known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) - for most uses is banned under the Montreal Protocol, this rise in emissions is likely a result of a loophole in the rules which states they can be used to create ozone-friendly alternatives to CFCs.

According to the researchers, emissions from these CFCs currently do not significantly threaten ozone recovery, but because they are potent greenhouse gases they still affect the climate.

CFCs are chemicals known to destroy Earth’s protective ozone layer. Once widely used in the manufacture of hundreds of products including aerosol sprays, such as blowing agents for foams and packing materials, solvents, and in refrigeration, CFC production for such uses was banned under the Montreal Protocol in 2010.

Dr Western said, “We’re paying attention to these emissions now because of the success of the Montreal Protocol. CFC emissions from more widespread uses that are now banned have dropped to such low levels that emissions of CFCs from previously minor sources are more on our radar and under scrutiny.”

Professor Matt Rigby and Professor Simon O'Doherty were also among the study's co-authors.

For more information, read the full story.



Further information

Western LM, Vollmer MK, Krummel PB, Adcock KE, Fraser PJ, Harth CM, Langenfelds RL, Montzka SA, Mühle J, O'Doherty S, Oram DE, Reimann S, Rigby M, Vimont I, Weiss RF, Young D, Laube JC. (2023) Global increase of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons from 2010 to 2020.
Edit this page