Chinese Building Insulation Manufacturers Blamed for Massive “Super Global Warming” CFC Release

Smog hangs over a construction site in Weifang city, Shandong province, Oct 16. 2015. Air quality went down in many parts of China since Oct 15 and most cities are shrounded by haze. [Photo/IC]

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

Andrew Griffin
Chris Baynes
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.”

Read more:

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?

106 thoughts on “Chinese Building Insulation Manufacturers Blamed for Massive “Super Global Warming” CFC Release

  1. So where did anyone ever get the impression the PRC would actually comply with environmental regulations?

    • well of course…they are a developing country…..someone is going to have to pay to get them to stop

    • I vaguely recall reading that Chinese chemical companies were being paid “compensation” in response to their promise not to produce CFC’s.
      The problem is, many of them had never produced the stuff in the first place, but were paid on the basis of them promising not to do so in the future.
      So several dummy companies were set up on the sole basis of collecting the “compensation” for not producing what they never had, or could, produce.
      Does anyone else recall this, and can refresh my memory?

      • “His specialty was alfalfa, and he made a good thing out of not growing any. The government paid him well for every bushel of alfalfa he did not grow. The more alfalfa he did not grow, the more money the government gave him, and he spent every penny he didn’t earn on new land to increase the amount of alfalfa he did not produce. Major Major’s father worked without rest at not growing alfalfa. On long winter evenings he remained indoors and did not mend harness, and he sprang out of bed at the crack of noon every day just to make certain that the chores would not be done. He invested in land wisely and soon was not growing more alfalfa than any other man in the county. Neighbours sought him out for advice on all subjects, for he had made much money and was therefore wise. “As ye sow, so shall ye reap,” he counselled one and all, and everyone said “Amen.”
        ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

        • Urederra : This story reminds me of a comedic video I once saw
          about a Janitor who was being investigated by the inland revenue
          department about his ROOF-TOP FARMING ACTIVITIES.
          When accused of deceiving them about his farming and all
          the subsidies he was receiving he simply showed them various
          pens and cages and clean areas on the roof-top and explained that
          each area was the “Farm” that he was PAID NOT TO PRODUCE from ;
          “this is where I grow the corn I’m paid not to produce and this is
          the chickens pen , and the pig sty , and the “free-range-beef” and the
          turkeys and…….” and at about this stage……the investigators looked
          at one another , shrugged their shoulders and walked off….
          …..muttering about “too much paperwork to sort out ! ”
          or some-such comments !
          Perfectly Believable Bureaucracy !!!

          • A bit like the EU conserving fish stocks by getting fishermen(and Women)to throw back fish that are not in their quota.

            James Bull

        • In the 60’s I knew a “Gentleman Farmer” that basically only raised a few horses and enough hay grain and straw for feed. When he learned of the payments for not growing wheat, he took the money and mowed the acreage necessary to qualify for the payment. He actually worked full time for a railroad and discovered that the railroad was a “Land Grant Railroad.” Thus they owned the right of way of the railroad. Checking with the government they found that they could collect money for ensuring that there were no crops grown on their right of way. Thus the began spraying herbicide and/or mowing the entire right of way which more than paid for the several mowinings or sprayings per year. We are talking thousands of acres! Shure upset the farmers along the tracks who had developed a habit of planting right up to the stone ballast the tracks are laid on.

      • The funniest part is that they made them anyway. I guess they noticed their neighbor NK got paid for “not” making nukes.

    • But China’s big! Really, really big! Don’t you understand how big China is?!

      Surely if we give them a UN Security Council seat they’ll settle down and fly right… oh wait.

  2. Hmmm. Right. When they scream “This is going to destroy the environment, and very soon!” I dismiss the claim out of hand. And, I have yet to be proven wrong. There’s much less to this that meets the eye, believe me.

  3. This has been going on since forever. In decades past, the West turned a blind eye because “developing countries”.
    Now Inspector Renault is *shocked* to find gambling going on in Ricks Cafe.
    On another note:
    If CFCs are so catastrophic and China and the Far East have made more CFCs than the West ever did, why have the environmental effects not been obvious?

      • If the extended family is going back to China, they will be carrying powdered baby formula. It seems like some Chinese don’t trust some Chinese products.

        On the other hand, some Chinese products don’t get retailed here and are astoundingly good quality and beauty. They make western designer brands look like poorly made cheap crap.

        Trying to say anything definitive about China is a fool’s errand.

        • It seems so, This causes sometimes shortages where I live (the Netherlands). For years you can only buy 1 package at a time. LOL it seems that you can make more money smuggeling Baby Formula to China, than smuggeling narcotics. The catch is that there has to be ZERO chineese characters on the package.

        • Chinese manufacturers are capable of making whatever Western importers request. What they generally request is a maximum profit margin.

        • Not sure enough people watch classic movies anymore, Tony.

          For those not getting the point, in the movie (Casablanca) a character complains to Inspector Renault that unlicensed gambling is going on it Rick’s Bar. Renault is *shocked*. An employee at the bar then hand Renault his winnings from the night before which he shamelessly pockets.

          The metaphor in this context? Everyone is *shocked* that China breaks environmental laws, but is still more than happy to let them build their solar panels and rare earth magnets.

          Renault may know and be *shocked* at what China is doing, but until he is prepared to stop putting solar panels next to his virtue signalling wind farms, China is going to keep running a gambling den.

    • ” China and the Far East have made more CFCs than the West ever did, why have the environmental effects not been obvious”
      There is no evidence that China and the Far East have made more CFCs than the West ever did. This infraction clearly breaches the Montreal agreement, but it has not reversed the downward trend in CFC-11. The breach was identified in a recent Nature paper, which got a lot of media coverage a couple of months ago. They say:

      “Here we show that the rate of decline of atmospheric CFC-11 concentrations observed at remote measurement sites was constant from 2002 to 2012, and then slowed by about 50 per cent after 2012. The observed slowdown in the decline of CFC-11 concentration was concurrent with a 50 per cent increase in the mean concentration difference observed between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and also with the emergence of strong correlations at the Mauna Loa Observatory between concentrations of CFC-11 and other chemicals associated with anthropogenic emissions. A simple model analysis of our findings suggests an increase in CFC-11 emissions of 13 ± 5 gigagrams per year (25 ± 13 per cent) since 2012, despite reported production being close to zero4 since 2006.”

      IOW, CFC-11 is still going down, but not as fast as it should.

      • Nick, on the face of it, this does not make any sense.
        First they say:
        “concentrations observed at remote measurement sites was constant from 2002 to 2012, and then slowed by about 50 per cent after 2012.”
        CFCs were phased out in the West in the 1980s. Somebody was making a *lot* of it after the 1980s.
        Then They say:
        “our findings suggests an increase in CFC-11 emissions of 13 ± 5 gigagrams per year (25 ± 13 per cent) since 2012”
        That’s a lot.
        And finally:
        “despite reported production being close to zero4 since 2006.”
        Somebody was lying through their teeth. To see who might have been less than truthful, see how Latitude (above) reminds us of the radioactive drywall and poisoned baby food and pet food affairs.
        Until about 10 years ago, it was not too hard to get numbers on CFC production in Asia, and they were still making *tons* of the stuff.

        • The Ozone hole is a scam anyway. The Antarctic has had an ozone hole for millions of years. I finally understand why Nick is taken in by these scams. He has a deep underlying trust for authority especially our beloved United Nations.

        • TonyL,
          “First they say:”
          No, you have left off the key first part
          ” the rate of decline of atmospheric CFC-11 concentrations observed at remote measurement sites was constant from 2002 to 2012″
          That is consistent with compliance till about 2006, then a failure (apparently China). The rate of decline has halved, but still downward.

          “That’s a lot.”
          Total production of CFCs in 1986 was about 350000 tons, of which CFC-11 was a major part. 13 gigagrams is 13000 tons. Too much, but it’s not going back to 1986.

          • “the rate of decline”
            Yup, my mistake, could have been clearer.
            Certainly, you would see a decline because the West halted production, even if Asia changed nothing.
            Also 13000 tons is not the production. They say it is an *increase* in production. OK, they claim 25% of the previous total. But still a crude guess based on remote sensing half a planet away.

          • 1 gigagram = 10^9 grams = 1,000 tonnes. That is a quantity that we can all easily visualize and it’s not frighteningly large. So they use “gigagram” which is not a quantity we meet in our everyday lives, so isn’t easily visualized. But it includes the prefix “giga” which implies “big, scary numbers”. Standard use of language in climate science, where the object of a publication is not to inform, but to generate an emotional response.

  4. Wait a second… didn’t they tell us, just a couple of months back, that the ozone layer was all hunky-dory, and the hole was basically repaired, because we banned these chemicals?

    • I had the same thought; they were claiming success for the ban as the ozone hole was recovering . Looks like their hypothesis just got falsified – a pity about all that money that got wasted.

      • More of a pity for the wasted lives of those killed by the flammable coolants and insulation used in fridges and freezers. A few of the high profile deaths were at Grenfell tower but far more died in the rest of the country let alone the world.

    • Not to mention that China is in the Northern hemisphere and the “hole” is in the Southern hemisphere.

    • In August 2006, the WMO issued this statement:

      “Antarctic ozone forecasted to recover in 2065″

      A new scientific assessment, released Friday by the World Meteorological Organization, WMO and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that the stratospheric ozone layer that protects life on Earth from excessive solar radiation will recover five to15 years later than previously expected.

      Because of special conditions within the Antarctic vortex (a natural cyclone of super-cold, super-fast winds), the Antarctic ozone hole is expected to recur regularly for another two decades.”

      As the Ozone thinning only takes place over Antarctica, how is it protecting life all over the earth?

  5. CFC-11 is also a super global warmer

    Without even looking CFC11 has a huge Global Warming Potential which is total BS.

      • The calculation of that GWP is hilarious (in a bad way) if you look at how it is done. Didn’t someone put the actual method used up on this site recently? “7020 times…” It’s a joke.

        Global warming catastrophes and ozone hole repairs are for people who are bad at math.

    • I have always been curious.
      With all these compounds running around that are hundreds and even thousands of times more powerful greenhouse gasses than CO2, does that not mean that CO2 is a very weak greenhouse agent?
      Or is this a question I am not supposed to ask?

      • The Global Warming Potential number is a complete load of crap and needs to be exposed as nothing more than cheap propaganda.

        Somebody came up with this scheme and is probably laughing manically every time they see this ridiculous number quoted in the press over the fact that they are getting away with it.

      • Proportion multiplied with effectiveness, water vapor first, then all the rest of minor contributers.

  6. The Warmistas all wanted people to insulate their houses, reduce energy use, and save on CO2 and stop ‘heating the World’ dramatically. Then when every one, quite logically, started buying cheap Chinese CFC-11 loaded insulation, the Warmistas are not at all satisfied and start screaming about CFC-11 heating the World dramatically. The Warmistas are never satisfied.

    • A classic catch-22. Without Joseph Heller, we would have no idea how the world actually works.

      My favorite was Chief Whit Halfoat. Whenever his tribe settled in a new location, oil was discovered and they were kicked out. Pretty soon, the oil companies started anticipating where they would settle next and kicked them out before they got there.

  7. Shucks, and just when we had that pesky ozone thing on the mend (sarc)! Well, maybe all that insulation will save some fossil fuel, eh?

  8. Has anyone else noticed the utter silence of the environmental movement wrt to China burying live coral reefs to build up artificial islands across the South China Sea, and for militaristic and expansionist purposes no less, clearly with the intent of establishing sovereignty in order to legitimize the hideous exploitation of energy and mineral resources? And they’re worried about CFC-11?

    Can you imagine the caterwauling if Trump pursued this same tactic to expand our territorial footprint?

  9. ” … I wonder how much of that Chinese CFC foam building insulation ended up installed in Western buildings, … ”

    The foam burns quite vigorously though so it should keep people warm on cold nights.

    As for it being a blatant global crime, that may be the correct sort of terminology, however, it’ll still have to get in-line, behind the many other blatant unpunished Chinese crimes like destroying the reefs of the South China Sea with zero action taken by the usual enviro-hippycrits (if they had used acid, well, that would have been very different).

    But they did have a snapchat meeting, on their Chinese iPhoney-9 and it was deemed uneconomic to mention it, so they agreed to protest western shopping bags instead, which is a real economic gusher and considered much more important. Plus the extra UV breaks down plastic faster … so … win-win).

    • The foam burns quite vigorously though so it should keep people warm on cold nights.

      There is no ‘the foam’

      foams that burn vigorously (polystyrene and polyproylene) are more or less banned from use above ground …the above ground foams of choice are polyisocyanurates which are very very hard to burn – in fact they don’t burn, although a hot fire fueled by something else degrades them

        • Yeabut, polystyrene and polyproylene have been banned in China, so no worries there, safe as fire retardant rice.

          BTW Leo, there’s a little difference between open-cell and closed-cell construction foams. The closed-cell foam holds in the blowing gas and the foam can last for centuries, while the other leaks its gas readily, is water and moisture permiable, and looses its blowing gas as it cures.

          So most of the remaining blow gas won’t be released for a loooong time, and veeery slowly at that.

          • No argument there.

            I was challenging the statement that ‘[all] foam burns

            Sure when yoiu see smoking bits of PIR falling off a tower you think ‘that stuff is burning’ but when you actually try and burn it, it smokes and falls apart but it doesn’t actually generate heat. Something else has to do that.

        • Indeed. The insulation foam did not burn

          It was the polypropylene foam and aluminium cladding that burned

          As I said PIR wil degrade under heat and produce toxic fumes but the energy balance is not positive. It will neither start nor sustain a fire.

          I know. I’ve tried. with a blowlamp

      • in the UK foam is NOT banned above ground, we sell lots of it for house construction
        only flammable polystyrene burns, and not that vigorously, non flam polystrene doesnt burn. (and we have the fire test results to prove it)
        isocyanates heat degrade and give off some good old nasties

    • Actually one reason the Chinese keep using the CFC-11 is because it is more fire retardant than replacement blowing agents.
      “Following several catastrophic fires, in 2011 China began
      tightening fire retardant requirements for building
      insulation. Decree No. 65 issued by the Ministry of
      Public Security requires all foams to meet Class-B1
      flammability standards after 2012.26 While possible to
      produce foams that meet Class B flammability standards
      using hydrocarbon blowing agents, there are technical
      and cost issues due to the need for additional flame
      retardant in the foam agent mix.”

  10. The Ozone hole is a bigger physics scam than global warming although costing a lot less money but still in the billions. It was the 1st environmental test case scam for the UN as a dry run for the global warming scam. The science behind it is all flawed. Argentina and most south American countries use CFC in backyard underground refrigeration businesses all over the country. The CFC ban has been the most unsuccessful ban of a product in history except maybe tobacco,alcohol and illegal drugs.

    • The science behind it is not flawed. For “the most unsuccessful ban of a product in history” it still managed to stop the rapidly growing atmospheric concentration by 1990 and achieve a steady reduction over time (for products that have a natural half-life of ~100 years in the atmosphere).

  11. It’s not fair that China exports insulation which is cheaper to manufacture and better quality because they use an illegal substance (CFC-11) that none of their overseas competitors can use.

  12. CFC’s do not affect the ozone layer. That is another environmental myth. Little is understood about the ozone layer to this day, but it is known that the sun, as well as chlorine and bromine release from the oceans are huge natural variables. CFC’s cannot compete with the oceans.

    • Absolutely right. They need a new scare every week to keep the UN agenda on track.

      It puzzles me that the HFC’s produced in China and elsewhere, are mobilized to the atmosphere above Antarctica, once a year, in order to do their dastardly work.

      Check out volcanic CFC’s:

    • The oceanic source is of inorganic chlorine which gets washed out of the atmosphere by rain. The concentration of inorganic chlorine compounds falls off rapidly with altitude and doesn’t make it into the stratosphere. The organic compounds such as CFC’s do not fall off with altitude until beyond the tropopause where the UV light starts to break them down. The processes that impact the ozone layer have been well defined and CFC’s certainly have a major effect on it particularly over the poles.

  13. What else to you expect of the Chinese Government?
    They smile, sign up to treaties, to the applause of the useful idiots and virtue signalers in the West. Then lie and cheat to give themselves a free pass.
    Trump recognises them for the criminals they are.

  14. A slow down in something decreasing is consistent with a background source of the thing, in this case volcanic sources of CFCs:

    Any chance of getting science to research natural sources of CFCs? Would “adverse” results get published?

    Another explanation is poor recycling of old refrigerators in China, but the study was sponsored by the recycling industry, so as always beware the agendas.

  15. …I wonder how much of that Chinese CFC foam building insulation ended up installed in Western buildings…

    A lot, I hope. It’s a lot safer than any comparable Western product, and the CFC scare has as much evidence behind it as the CO2 scare. It was almost certainly the curtain-raiser scam for the rise of thee Green Blob …

  16. Another BS meter blown up. It so obvious this is a witch hunt to put whoever you want in to the bad books.

  17. It is so frustrating when ignorant people use China as the model citizen of the world. People like myself that have seen up close and personal how the Chinese and their government think and act know that it is all a ruse. Or mostly a ruse. They build things and do things that make them look good and then abandon or reduce the impact of those wonderful things once the publicity is over.

    Specific example. China installed scrubbers to remove SO2 on most of their coal fired power plants in the early 2000s. They built them out of low grade materials and they were equipped with bypasses to bypass the scrubbers while still operating the plant. The world applauded as the systems were installed. Once the applause was over the systems were bypassed and SO2 emissions continued at the previous high rates. Even with bypass the inferior materials corroded and the equipment fell apart. Most of these systems are inoperable and cannot be reused unless major overhaul of the equipment is undertaken. There is no agency like the EPA in the government as overseer of industry. They are one in the sane as the central planners of the government. So China got the publicity of being great world citizens and then polluting like they always have.

  18. The Chinese solution to CFC in foam is to place a bright green sicker on the foam that says “CFC Free”. It will cost you millions and years of your life to prove the foam contains CFC.

    At which point the Chinese will tell you they were right all along as you have been getting the CFC for free along with the foam so the foam is correctly labelled “CFC Free”.

  19. The Chinese have a proud tradition going back many centuries of lying to officials. Over many centuries those that did not posses the skill were executed by the officials for lying poorly or simply died as a result of the burden of official regulations.

    As a result the Chinese have been genetically selected to become the best adapted people on the planet at doing one thing while convincing government officials they are doing something completely different.

  20. Not that there was ever any evidence that CFCs were bad for the ozone layer. Just an unproven model.

  21. But hey, we will offset it by eliminating straws in over-priced drinks elsewhere in the world. That is how things are done in the post modern world of no-scale consideration and just advocacy in its place.

  22. ROFL — Just a few months ago, these type of headlines were plastered all over the news: “NASA: HOLE IN EARTH’S OZONE LAYER FINALLY CLOSING UP BECAUSE HUMANS DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT” – Newsweak
    Odd, since CFCs have been rising steadily since 2012. I suppose it takes time for NH CFC emissions to magically collect over Antarctica.


    “In the run-up to the international climate negotiations in Durban later this month, China has responded to efforts to ban the trading of widely discredited HFC-23 offsets by threatening to release huge amounts of the potent industrial chemical into the atmosphere unless other nations pay what amounts to a climate ransom.”

    link in the old wuwt page dead this 1 works

  24. So clearly the improvements in the ozone hole from “stopping” CFC production were pure coincidence as they must have been making these insulating materials all along. This means all the deaths from using flammable coolants and insulation in fridges and freezers were wanton killing of innocent victims by the eco lobby who will of course never have to answer for their crimes.

  25. I heard – it may be wrong – that CFCs were banned because they were out of patent and therefore very cheap. This upset the refrigerant manufacturers so the ozone hole was invented. But then, the Chinese being inventive and not taken in by AGW scam are happy to make a good profit from the gas. Am I wrong?

  26. why do I smell a bit of BS.
    CFCs mentioned but not one name of a single product or type of product. one would have thought if it was so blatantly being used in vast quantities they would have pointed a finger at the bogeyman to stop people buying it
    "Foams used to insulate buildings" polystyrene ? isocyanates ? PU or PE, or something else (all available for house insulation in China) ?
    Its probably not PS, why would anyone consider CFC
    s for polystyrene when pentane works so darn well.


  27. But those are GOOD chlorofluorocarbons because China backs the Paris Climate Accords.

  28. Send the climate protesters to the gulag camp next door or have them be the forced labor on the inside.

  29. The Chinese arn’t stupid and know that ‘ozone hole’ and ‘a. global warming’ is scientific fraud.. they are only willing to go along with these scams if it means they can manufacture and sell solar panels and other garbage that is funded by western largess.

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