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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

G.J.M. Velders et al., PNAS, 2009, The large contribution of projected HFC emissions to future climate forcing

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,

The large contribution of projected HFC emissions to future climate forcing

Guus J. M. Velders* (Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, PO Box 303, 3720 AH Bilthoven, The Netherlands), David W. Fahey, John S. Daniel (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, CO 80305, U.S.A.), Mack McFarland (DuPont Fluoroproducts, Wilmington, DE 19805, U.S.A.) and Stephen O. Andersen (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Code 6202J, 1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20460, U.S.A.)

Edited by Mark H. Thiemens, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, CA, and approved May 14, 2009 (received for review March 13, 2009).


The consumption and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are projected to increase substantially in the coming decades in response to regulation of ozone depleting gases under the Montreal Protocol. The projected increases result primarily from sustained growth in demand for refrigeration, air-conditioning (AC) and insulating foam products in developing countries assuming no new regulation of HFC consumption or emissions. New HFC scenarios are presented based on current hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) consumption in leading applications, patterns of replacements of HCFCs by HFCs in developed countries, and gross domestic product (GDP) growth. Global HFC emissions significantly exceed previous estimates after 2025 with developing country emissions as much as 800% greater than in developed countries in 2050. Global HFC emissions in 2050 are equivalent to 9–19% (CO2-eq. basis) of projected global CO2 emissions in business-as-usual scenarios and contribute a radiative forcing equivalent to that from 6–13 years of CO2 emissions near 2050. This percentage increases to 28–45% compared with projected CO2 emissions in a 450-ppm CO2 stabilization scenario. In a hypothetical scenario based on a global cap followed by 4% annual reductions in consumption, HFC radiative forcing is shown to peak and begin to decline before 2050.

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