Unexpected CFC-11 Emissions – Briefing

A briefing to the 43rd meeting of the open-ended working group of the parties to the Montreal Protocol (OEWG 43).

As we approach three years since scientists first reported unexpected large-scale CFC-11 emissions, this briefing examines the current state of knowledge and pinpoints remaining critical gaps in data and understanding.

EIA investigations uncovered widespread use of CFC-11 in China’s polyurethane foam sector, with more than 85 per cent of the companies surveyed confirming use of CFC-11 in their operations. Data from Chinese enforcement efforts so far has not matched the extent of EIA findings or explained the scale of emissions.

However, several nationwide and systemic measures have been put in place by the Government of China to improve monitoring and enforcement efforts. Two Nature papers published in early 2021 suggest that CFC-11 emissions are back on a downward trajectory, potentially avoiding substantial delays in the recovery of the ozone layer.