23 June 2009

HFCs picked on and squeezed as 'low hanging fruit' in climate battle

A NEW scientific paper claims that HFCs, if left unchecked, could contribute to 45% of global CO2 emissions by 2050.
The scientific paper written by an international team of scientists puts further pressure on fluorocarbons and argues that, unless action is taken, HFCs use could climb sharply in the coming years.

Under a scenario where carbon dioxide emissions are pegged to 450ppm HFCs could equal 9Gt - equivalent to around 45% of total C02 emissions - by 2050 if their growth is unchecked.

However, according to the report, rapid action to freeze and to cut emissions annually alongside fostering readily available alternatives could see HFC emissions fall to under 1Gt over the same period.

The report was compiled by an international team of representatives from the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US), DuPont and US Environmental Protection Agency. The report is published in the Proceeedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Commenting on the report, Achim Steiner, UN under-secretary general and UNEP executive director, emphasised the desire to cut carbon dioxide emissions from society's inefficient energy use and added: 'But there are other low hanging fruit in the climate change challenge and this new scientific paper spotlights one of them - HFCs. By some estimates, action to freeze and then reduce this group of gases could buy the world the equivalent of a decades-worth of C02 emissions.'

To read the report click here

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