Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Investigators have accused “Climate leader” China of venting vast quantities of CFCs in the production of foam building insulation.
Ozone hole damage revealed to be caused by secret production of Chinese home insulation
The production is ‘an environmental crime on a massive scale’, according to investigators
Monday 9 July 2018 12:15
Scientists have finally found the source of an ozone-depleting chemical that threatens to destroy the environment, according to investigators.
The mysterious, ozone-depleting chemical is being illegally produced by Chinese manufacturers and is leading to a surge in emissions of the destructive gas, according to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).
At least 18 companies have been using CFC-11, which was banned worldwide in 2010, to make foam insulation, according to the EIA. It said the discovery amounted to “an environmental crime on a massive scale”.
“If China doesn’t stop this illegal production, it will imperil our slowly healing ozone layer,” said Alexander von Bismarck, the EIA’s US executive director. “CFC-11 is also a super global warmer, making this a serious threat for our climate as well.”
He added: “What we’ve uncovered is a systemic problem, not isolated incidents. It requires a comprehensive nationwide intelligence-led investigation and higher penalties throughout the sector that fit the crime.”
The CFCs are being used as a “blowing agent” to inflate the bubbles in the foam, by mixing the CFCs with the liquid plastic, so bubbles of CFC form in the plastic as the foam hardens. Of course a lot of CFC escapes into the air during this process, and likely continues to leach out over the years as the plastic slowly deteriorates, long after the insulation is installed.
I wonder how much of that Chinese CFC foam building insulation ended up installed in Western buildings, as part of various Western government mandated climate energy efficiency programmes?