Environment watchdog fingers China for ozone destruction

Nairobi, Kenya (PANA) - A global environment investigating agency said on Monday it has evidence showing that significant and unexplained emissions of the ozone-destroying chemical CFC-11 in the atmosphere is emanating from China.

The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), which investigates and campaigns against environmental crime and abuse, says the illegal production and use of CFC-11 in the polyurethane foam sector in China is the cause.

EIA, says in its report titled "Blowing It", it has 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, EIA said in a news dispatch from Geneva.

EIA said producers and traders of polyurethane foam blowing agent repeatedly told their sources that the majority of China’s foam industry continued to use CFC-11 due to its better quality and lower price.

"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.

“If China doesn’t stop this illegal production, it will imperil our slowly healing ozone layer,” said Alexander von Bismarck, EIA US Executive Director.

“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."

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.

Clare Perry, EIA UK Climate Campaign Leader, 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, added Perry.

The agency says its undercover investigations expose transnational wildlife crime, with a focus on elephants and tigers, and forest crimes such as illegal logging and deforestation for cash crops such as palm oil.

The agency also works to safeguard global marine ecosystems by tackling plastic pollution, exposing illegal fishing and seeking an end to all whaling, in addition to addressing the threat of global warming by campaigning to curtail powerful refrigerant greenhouse gases and exposing related criminal trade.
-0- PANA DJ/MA 9July2018

09 july 2018 12:15:04

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