Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Ozone Depleting Gas Declines After Rising For Years

Science
"Weather balloons carry ozone-measuring sondes that directly sample ozone levels vertically through the atmosphere." phys.org / NOAA

An ozone depleting gas is on the decline after rising since 2012, according to preliminary data reported by scientists yesterday, as the New York Times reported.


Scientists were previously shocked to learn that levels of a banned gas, the most abundant form of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) known as CFC-11, which was supposed to have been worldwide production stop by 2010 was actually on the rise again. The gas is partly responsible for degrading the ozone layer and creating a hole that hovers over Antarctica every September, according to the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Researchers from NOAA published a paper in the journal Nature last year that pinpointed an area in eastern China where unreported production of the gas was taking place. They found that from 2014 to 2016, emissions of CFC-11 increased by 25 percent above the average measured from 2002 to 2012. "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 of the ozone layer,'" said NOAA Scientist Stephen Montzka, the study's lead author, in a NOAA press release in 2018. "Further work is needed to figure out exactly why emissions of CFC-11 are increasing, and if something can be done about it soon."

If the emissions increase went unabated, NOAA said that it would impede progress in restoring the ozone layer, which protects all of life on Earth from harmful solar radiation, as the New York Times reported.

Another paper published this spring found that 40 to 60 percent of global emissions were coming from two provinces in the eastern part of mainland China.

The new findings suggest that China has made significant headway in curtailing illegal production of the gas, which is used to make insulating foams, as the New York Times reported.

The new data was presented in Rome by a NOAA scientist, Montka. CFCs were first banned in 1987 at the Montreal Protocol, which is largely considered the most successful environmental pact in history. The success of phasing out production of CFCs as refrigerants and aerosol propellants has led to a remarkable recovery of the ozone layer, which may be fully restored by the middle of this century, according to the New York Times.

Signatories of that protocol are holding their annual meeting this week in Rome and CFCs are on the agenda once again.

"The good news is, the report this morning shows emissions now going down significantly," said Durwood Zaelke, president of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, a research and advocacy organization based in Washington DC, as the New York Times reported.

For its part, China, which initially denied that its factories used CFC-11, walked back that position and submitted a report that detailed how it has ramped up monitoring and enforcement efforts, given inspectors equipment to instantly detect the presence of CFC-11, and built six regional testing laboratories. It also detailed the destruction of three factories that were producing CFC-11, as the New York Times reported.

"China is clearly taking the issue very seriously and responding well," said Zaelke to the New York Times. "But that's not where the story ends."

He added that the Chinese report leaves unanswered questions about where the illegal emissions are coming from and how to stop them in the future.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pie Ranch in San Mateo, California, is a highly diverse farm that has both organic and food justice certification. Katie Greaney

By Elizabeth Henderson

Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced:

Read More Show Less
A woman walks to her train in Grand Central Terminal as New York City attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus through social distancing on March 27. John Lamparski / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
polaristest / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.

Read More Show Less