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Type: Journal article
Title: Chilling prospect: climate change effects of mismanaged refrigerants in China
Author: Duan, H.
Miller, T.
Liu, G.
Zeng, X.
Yu, K.
Huang, Q.
Zuo, J.
Qin, Y.
Li, J.
Citation: Environmental Science and Technology, 2018; 52(11):6350-6356
Publisher: American Chemical Society
Issue Date: 2018
ISSN: 0013-936X
Statement of
Huabo Duan, T. Reed Miller, Gang Liu, Xianlai Zeng, Keli Yu, Qifei Huang, Jian Zuo, Yufei Qin and Jinhui Li
Abstract: The global community has responded to the dual threats of ozone depletion and climate change from refrigerant emissions (e.g., chlorofluorocarbons, CFCs, and hydrofluorocarbons, HFCs) in refrigerators and air conditioners (RACs) by agreeing to phase out the production of the most damaging chemicals and replacing them with substitutes. Since these refrigerants are 'banked' in products during their service life, they will continue to impact our environment for decades to come if they are released due to mismanagement at the end of life. Addressing such long-term impacts of refrigerants requires a dynamic understanding of the RACs' life cycle, which was largely overlooked in previous studies. Based on field surveys and a dynamic model, we reveal the lingering ozone depletion potential (ODP) and significant global warming potential (GWP) of scrap refrigerants in China, the world's largest producer (62%) and consumer (46%) of RACs in 2015, which comes almost entirely from air conditioners rather than refrigerators. If the use and waste management of RACs continue with the current trend, the total GWP of scrap refrigerants in China will peak by 2025 at a level of 135.2 ±18.9 Mt CO2e (equal to approximately 1.2%±0.2% of China's total greenhouse gas emissions or the national total of either the Netherlands and Czech Republic in 2015). Our results imply an urgent need for improving the recycling and waste management of RACs in China.
Keywords: Air Pollutants; China; Czech Republic; Netherlands; Climate Change
Rights: © 2018 American Chemical Society
RMID: 0030088746
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b05987
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