China has made arrests and shut down factories that were in violation of international treaties, emitting outlawed ozone-eating gases, according to reports.
The news comes after initial reports based on comprehensive scientific research showing that Chinese factories continued to produce Trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, a known ozone depleting gas that was banned under a UN-ratified convention; you can read our report here.
Reports are claiming Chinese authorities have cracked down on factories producing illegal gases, with several arrests made, according to authorities.
Clare Perry spoke on behalf of the Energy Informational Authority (EIA) who has been raising the alarm on the matter for months now, stating that the Chinese “government has followed up on the companies we identified in 2018.”
“It has undertaken a nationwide enforcement effort, including raising the penalties for using CFC-11, and has shut down at least two CFC-11 production sites,” she said.
The paper was first published in Nature just over a year now, and took some time to rise to prominence in the news cycle. Their research found that CFC-11 emissions were rising by 7,000 tonnes each year, with anywhere between 40-60 per cent originating from China.
CFC-11 was a prominent refrigerant and foam insulation material used globally between the 70s and 80s, before it was outlawed under the Montreal Protocol. In subsequent years, evidence of CFC-11 in the atmosphere dropped radically, until the more recent observations that the pace of that slowdown was dropping by half between 2013-2017.
Perry continued to explain that “the most critical thing the government needs to do now is track down and shut down all CFC-11 production.”
“This will involve high-priority large-scale sustained intelligence-led enforcement efforts on the part of China, something we have yet to see evidence of,” she added.
Another problem in the equation is that CFC-11 is a more effective and cheaper option than some of its alternatives, driving cash-strapped manufacturers to prioritise their bottom line in China’s booming manufacturing industry.
Lead author of the report, Matt Rigby said that “CFCs are the main culprit in the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer in the area, slowing the rate at which holes in the ozone layer are repairing themselves.”
In recognition of their efforts, we’ll list all the contributing authors of the paper: Stephen A. Montzka, Geoff S. Dutton, Pengei Yu, Eric Ray, Robert W. Portmann, John S. Daniel, Lambert Kuijpers, Brad D Hall, Debra Mondeel, Carolina Siso, J. David Nance, Matt Rigby, Alistair J. Manning, Lei Hu, Fred Moore, Ben R. Miller and James W. Elkins.