Global increase of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons from 2010 to 2020

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Nature Geoscience, Volume 16, Issue 4, p.309 - 313 (2023)





The production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that would ultimately be released to the atmosphere was banned globally in 2010 under the Montreal Protocol. Here we use measurements combined with an atmospheric transport model to show how atmospheric abundances and emissions of five CFCs increased between 2010 and 2020, contrary to the goals of the phase-out. The Montreal Protocol allows CFC production for use as a feedstock to produce other chemicals. Emissions of CFC-113a, CFC-114a and CFC-115 probably arise during the production of hydrofluorocarbons, which have replaced CFCs for many applications. The drivers behind increasing emissions of CFC-13 and CFC-112a are more uncertain. The combined emissions of CFC-13, CFC-112a, CFC-113a, CFC-114a and CFC-115 increased from 1.6 ± 0.2 to 4.2 ± 0.4 ODP-Gg yr-1 (CFC-11-equivalent ozone-depleting potential) between 2010 and 2020. The anticipated impact of these emissions on stratospheric ozone recovery is small. However, ongoing emissions of the five CFCs of focus may negate some of the benefits gained under the Montreal Protocol if they continue to rise. In addition, the climate impact of the emissions of these CFCs needs to be considered, as their 2020 emissions are equivalent to 47 ± 5 TgCO2.