In recent decades, a chemical known as hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) have been proposed as an industrial alternative to chlorofluorocarbon (CFC). CFC has been used in the past as a component in running appliances such asrefrigerators and air conditioners.
The switch was due to CFC having been found as destructive to ozone layers, a region of Earth’s stratosphere that protects people from harmful radiation. As such, HFC took its place and the alternative was a success.
HFC Ban Due To Worsening Global Warming
Just this year, scientists monitoring the ozone layer found signs of “the first fingerprint of healing.” While the HFC did a great job of substituting CFC, it too came with its own negative side effect, said the Daily Mail.
The organic compound is a thousand times better at retaining heat in the atmosphere compared to its predecessor, exacerbating global warming at an alarming rate. In addition, the compound is also the fastest growing greenhouse gas to date as the demand for air conditioning spiked up by 10-15 percent annually in rising economies.
To curb the global threat that climate change poses, 150 countries are to meet in Kigali to talk about banning the use of chlorofluorocarbon. This issue has been given added urgency following the Paris climate change agreement, an accord focusing on slowing down global temperature rises below 2 Centigrade, or possibly 1.5 Centigrade, this century.
“It’s a big piece, these are the fastest growing greenhouse gases right now, although they are still a small percentage,” said Durwood Zaelke, from the Institute for Government and Sustainable Development. “But an amendment could bend the curve down quickly and take out 100 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent by midcentury, and by the end of the century you’ll avoid up to half a degree of warming.”
Problems Between Emerging and Developed Countries Unfolds Amidst HFC Banning
However, it seems that a specific year has yet to be decided as nations including the U.S. and U.N. are wanting 2021 as the peak year of usage. India, on the other hand, proposes a much later date of 2031 as it’s the biggest manufacturer of the gases.
There are negative impacts in both opting for early or late responses. An early peak will address the climate change issue faster but will cost more in terms of funding, particularly among poorer nations, according to BBC.
An ideal approach would be to take the early phase so that emerging economies don’t settle for the existing option but would choose to pick a more advanced and sustainable alternative. There are a lot of replacement gases that are being looked into including ammonia, hydrocarbons, and ironically enough, CO2.