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EIA uncovers illegal CFC-11 production and use in China

New report reveals China is the source of ozone-destroying chemical in the Earth’s atmosphere, EIA says

| | Jul 9, 2018 | 10:52 am
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Vienna, Austria, 9 July 2018: In the wake of evidence showing significant emissions of the ozone-destroying chemical CFC-11 in the Earth’s atmosphere, a new report, titled Blowing It, by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) reveals compelling evidence that illegal production and use of CFC-11 in the polyurethane foam sector in China is the cause, EIA said in a Press communiqué.

According to EIA, it obtained evidence from 18 different companies in 10 Chinese provinces confirming their use of CFC-11 as a blowing agent for the manufacture of foams utilised to insulate buildings and appliances.

Detailed discussions with company executives make clear these are not isolated incidents, but common practice throughout the industry, the communiqué said. Producers and traders of polyurethane foam blowing agent repeatedly told EIA sources that the majority of China’s foam industry continues to use CFC-11 due to its better quality and lower price, the communiqué further said.

According to EIA, conversations with traders revealed some companies produced CFC-11 themselves, while others were supplied by factories in undisclosed locations. Several companies also referred to the ease with which CFC-11 could be exported in the pre-blended polyol used to make the foams, the communiqué said.

Commenting on the report, Alexander von Bismarck, Executive Director, EIA US, said: “If China doesn’t stop this illegal production, it will imperil our slowly healing ozone layer. CFC-11 is also a super global warmer, making this a serious threat for our climate as well. What we’ve uncovered is a systemic problem, not isolated incidents. It requires a comprehensive nationwide intelligence-led investigation and higher penalties throughout the sector that fit the crime.”

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

Commenting on the findings, Clare Perry, Climate Campaign Leader, EIA UK, said: “This is an environmental crime on a massive scale. Steps need to be taken to ensure enforcement and compliance with all the obligations of the Montreal Protocol, including new controls on HFCs. How the Montreal Protocol addresses this issue will determine whether it continues to merit its reputation as the world’s most effective environmental treaty.”


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