Friday, December 22, 2006

HFC-23 is 12,000 Times More Potent Than Carbon Dioxide

The Secretariat of the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) estimates that a ton of trifluoromethane (HFC-23) has the same greenhouse effect as about 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide. HFC-23 is used as a refrigerant and in fire supression systems, right. The gas can be decomposed via a thermal oxidation process.

Companies in China and India are utilizing the Certified Emissions Reductions generated as a result of large-scale industrial abatement projects to generate offsets to sell through the United Nations Clean Development Mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol. Neither country is a signatory to the protocol but the CER and CDM allow developing countries to participate through a signatory country.

Nearly all HFC-23 emissions (98 percent) are created as a byproduct in the production of chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22) and generally are vented to the atmosphere. In some cases the HFC-23 is captured for use in a limited number of applications. The increase in HFC emissions since the early 1990s reflects the use of HFCs as replacements for CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), halons, and other ozone-depleting substances (ODS) that are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol because they damage the Earth’s stratospheric ozone layer. HCFCs deplete ozone. HFCs do not deplete ozone. (DOE-EIA, NYT)

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