Report accuses China firms over ozone depleting gas

The EIA claims these "are not isolated incidents but common practice throughout the industry".

Traders and buyers of CFC-11 in China told the EIA that it is used in the majority of China's rigid PU foam sector.

A few months ago, there were reports that while the ozone layer was recovering all over the world, researchers were able to still find some traces of risky CFC which at the time was reported to be coming out of East Asia.

Several companies also referred to the ease with which CFC-11 could be exported in the pre-blended polyol compound used to make the foams, it added.

The foreign ministry told AFP on Monday that China had made "tremendous contributions" to achieving the aims of the Montreal Protocol.

A new survey by the Environmental Investigations Agency (EIA) has found that China is at least partially responsible for the mysterious spike of atmospheric levels of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), heat-trapping substances that have been banned worldwide for years.

CFCs were commonly used from the 1930's in aerosols, solvents and refrigerants without any knowledge of the dangers to the environment.

The mystery of the excessive amounts of banned CFC-11 (tricholorofluromethane) in the atmosphere seems to have been solved.

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Liu Le, a refrigeration expert in Shandong, noted in a presentation to Chinese officials that the situation has been hard to monitor, as these businesses don't have registrations or names on their factories.

The Chinese government is yet to respond to these allegations, but will address this matter soon, according to the NY Times.

"An immediate and effective clampdown of the illegal use of CFC-11 in China is critical to ensuring the recovery of the ozone layer", it says.

"CFC-11 is also a super global warmer, making this a serious threat for our climate as well", he added. What we've uncovered is a systemic problem, not isolated incidents. "We want them to clamp down but it's supremely important for them to carry out a comprehensive investigation into the sector".

EIA is releasing the report in advance of the Open-Ended Working Group of the Montreal Protocol meeting in Vienna from 11-14 July, where the issue of the rogue CFC-11 emissions is likely to be high on the agenda.

They went to Kigali, Rwanda, to eliminate hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and take 0.5C out of future global warming, and the 170 countries that successfully negotiated an amendment to the Montreal protocol treaty agreed to get rid of 90% of them. In fact, the Montreal Protocol is considered the world's most successful environmental agreement, mainly because it gives countries financial assistance for substitution.

In May this year, Nature magazine released a study showing that the reduction of banned chlorofluorcarbons (CFCs) which contribute to the destruction of the ozone layer has slowed by nearly half, indicating that someone, somewhere was producing the chemical.

One seller of CFC-11 estimated that 70% of China's domestic sales used the illegal gas.

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