No "all-clear" for ozone and climate

May 1995
Study for Greenpeace e.V. Hamburg
Winfried Schwarz
André Leisewitz

In Germany 1995 will be consumed more than 12,000 tonnes of ozone depleting fully and partly halogenated CFCs and apart from that over 4000 t global warming HFCs. The main application sectors are firstly refrigeration and air conditioning, secondly foaming of plastic and thirdly propellants of asthma metered dose inhalers (MDI). The summarized ozone depleting potential (ODP) amounts to 2700 tonnes CFC-11, and the summarized global warming potential (GWP) will be 70 million tons CO2 equivalent. The Chemical industry purposes to combine the CFC phase-out with a phase-in into chlorine free but climate damaging HFCs. Compared to 1990 a notable drop took place as concerns the ODP falling to 8 percent and the GWP falling to 29 percent. However, the 1995 new consumed quantities do not give a reason to cease attention from ozone layer and climate. While asthma sprays (and laboratories) exclusively use fully halogenated CFCs and plastic foams use both partly halogenated CFCs and HFCs, in refrigeration and air conditioning each of the three substances is applied. The 1995 consumption is forecasted as follows. Refrigeration and air conditioning: 8500 t CFC, HCFC and HFC. Foaming: 6600 t HCFC and HFC. Asthma sprays: 1000 t CFC. Laboratories: 200 t CFC (incl. Tetrachlorocarbon). The ongoing process of CFC substitution takes two ways. The main way is the replacement of CFCs by HFCs with global warming impact of their emissions. The Chemical industry formerly active in the CFC business is supporting this way, particularly in the main sector of refrigerants but also in the sector asthma sprays. The second way of CFC replacing is climate neutral and is favorised by the foaming industry. Until the end of the century this industry will have been realised the CFC replacement by the blowing agents pentane and simple carbon dioxide. The "second" way is also possible in refrigeration and air conditioning, if substitution technologies (ammonia, hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide) could establish their position. In the asthma therapy dry powder inhalation represents an equivalent alternative to drug inhalation with the aid of propellants contributing to greenhouse effect.