Changing trends and emissions of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and their hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) replacements

Simmonds, PG, Rigby M, McCulloch A, O'Doherty S, Young D, Mühle J, Krummel PB, Steele P, Fraser PJ, Manning AJ, Weiss RF, Salameh PK, Harth CM, Wang RHJ, Prinn RG.  2017.  Changing trends and emissions of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and their hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) replacements. Atmos. Chem. Phys.. 17:4641-4655.: Copernicus Publications

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High-frequency, in situ global observations of HCFC-22 (CHClF2), HCFC-141b (CH3CCl2F), HCFC-142b (CH3CClF2) and HCFC-124 (CHClFCF3) and their main HFC replacements, HFC-134a (CH2FCF3), HFC-125 (CHF2CF3), HFC-143a (CH3CF3) and HFC-32 (CH2F2), have been used to determine their changing global growth rates and emissions in response to the Montreal Protocol and its recent amendments. Global mean mole fractions of HCFC-22, -141b, and -142b have increased throughout the observation period, reaching 234, 24.3 and 22.4 pmol mol−1, respectively, in 2015. HCFC-124 reached a maximum global mean mole fraction of 1.48 pmol mol−1 in 2007 and has since declined by 23 % to 1.14 pmol mol−1 in 2015. The HFCs all show increasing global mean mole fractions. In 2015 the global mean mole fractions (pmol mol−1) were 83.3 (HFC-134a), 18.4 (HFC-125), 17.7 (HFC-143a) and 10.5 (HFC-32).The 2007 adjustment to the Montreal Protocol required the accelerated phase-out of emissive uses of HCFCs with global production and consumption capped in 2013 to mitigate their environmental impact as both ozone-depleting substances and important greenhouse gases. We find that this change has coincided with a stabilisation, or moderate reduction, in global emissions of the four HCFCs with aggregated global emissions in 2015 of 449 ± 75 Gg yr−1, in CO2 equivalent units (CO2 eq.) 0.76 ± 0.1 Gt yr−1, compared with 483 ± 70 Gg yr−1 (0.82 ± 0.1 Gt yr−1 CO2 eq.) in 2010 (uncertainties are 1σ throughout this paper). About 79 % of the total HCFC atmospheric burden in 2015 is HCFC-22, where global emissions appear to have been relatively similar since 2011, in spite of the 2013 cap on emissive uses. We attribute this to a probable increase in production and consumption of HCFC-22 in Montreal Protocol Article 5 (developing) countries and the continuing release of HCFC-22 from the large banks which dominate HCFC global emissions. Conversely, the four HFCs all show increasing mole fraction growth rates with aggregated global HFC emissions of 327 ± 70 Gg yr−1 (0.65 ± 0.12 Gt yr−1 CO2 eq.) in 2015 compared to 240 ± 50 Gg yr−1 (0.47 ± 0.08 Gt yr−1 CO2 eq.) in 2010. We also note that emissions of HFC-125 and HFC-32 appear to have increased more rapidly averaged over the 5-year period 2011–2015, compared to 2006–2010. As noted by Lunt et al. (2015) this may reflect a change to refrigerant blends, such as R-410A, which contain HFC-32 and -125 as a 50 : 50 blend.