Global production of ozone-depleting substances

  • Image, Global emissions of ozone-depleting substances.

    Ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are synthetic gases that destroy ozone in the ozone layer of Earth’s stratosphere. The ozone layer absorbs most of the harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation that reaches Earth from the sun. UV radiation can harm both humans and the environment by inducing skin cancer and cataracts, and affecting plant growth and decomposition. ODS are mainly used as refrigerants in air conditioners and refrigerators, as propellants in aerosol cans, in fire extinguishers, and as solvents. Monitoring global ODS production helps us understand how much pressure these substances put on the atmosphere as well as track the impact of the phasing out of ODS production.

    We classified Global production of ozone-depleting substances as a national indicator.

    Key findings

     Image, Decreasing trend.  Decreasing trend (improving pressure)

    From 1986 to 2015 global ODS production fell 98 percent. There were decreases in the production of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, other fully halogenated CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, and methyl bromide throughout this period at the 95 percent confidence level.

    • CFCs are the most widely produced ODS and the first to be controlled under the Montreal Protocol. In 1986, global production of CFCs totalled 1,072,296 ozone-depleting potential (ODP) tonnes. By 2015, global destruction of CFCs exceeded production by 1,456 ODP tonnes.
    • In 2015, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) made up 98 percent of all global ODS produced, despite being phased out in many countries. HCFCs are used to replace CFCs because they damage the ozone layer less than CFCs; however, HCFCs are greenhouse gases.

    • While production of ODS is decreasing, concentrations in the stratosphere will take decades to respond.

    Note: Production is reported as ozone-depleting potential (ODP) tonnes (metric tonnage of ODS). Although the Montreal Protocol considers nine ODS, two (HBFCs and bromochloromethane) are not presented here due to discontinuous data.

    Definition and methodology

    The estimated global production of ozone-depleting substances is reported as ozone-depleting potential (ODP) tonnes (metric tonnage of ODS) (UNEP Ozone Secretariat, nd).

    Parties to the Montreal Protocol and its amendments (UNEP, 2007) report on ODS production, destruction, consumption, import, and export. Production and consumption are reported rather than emissions, because emissions from multiple minor sources are difficult to monitor (European Environment Agency, nd).

    The Montreal Protocol considers nine ODS: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, other fully halogenated CFCs, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), hydrobromofluorocarbons (HBFCs), bromochloromethane, and methyl bromide. CFCs are the most commonly known ODS.

    While New Zealand does not produce ODS, we do consume them. We report on production as a proxy for emissions because this dataset is considered the most reliable.

    The ODS data source is internationally accepted and provides trustworthy information, but there are data limitations. For example, only parties to the Montreal Protocol amendments are required to report, and reporting is self-monitored – however, not many producers generate ODS, and the major producers do report. Some classifications are exempt from this reporting, such as methyl bromide for treating timber pre-shipment and quarantine. Another data limitation is that different countries have different reporting obligations.

    UNEP predicts that, with full implementation of the Montreal Protocol, “the global ozone layer should return to pre-1980 levels by around the middle of [the 21st] century” (UNEP Ozone Secretariat, nd).

    Data quality

    We classified Global production of ozone-depleting substances as a national indicator.

    Relevance

      This national indicator is a direct measure of the ‘Human activities generating ozone-depleting substances’ topic. 

    Accuracy

       The accuracy of the data source is of high quality.

    See Data quality information for more detail.

    References

    European Environment Agency (nd). Production and consumption of ozone depleting substances. Accessed 5 June 2015 from www.eea.europa.eu.

    United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Ozone Secretariat (nd). Montreal Protocol: Achievements to date and challenges ahead. Accessed 5 June 2015 from http://ozone.unep.org/en.

    United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) (2007). The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer . Further adjusted by the Nineteenth Meeting of the Parties, Montreal, 17–21 September 2007. Available from http://ozone.unep.org/en.

    Archived pages

    See Global emissions of ozone-depleting substances (archived October 2017).

     

    Updated 19 October 2017

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