Impacts on global ozone and climate from use and emission of 2,2-dichloro-1,1,1-trifluoroethane (HCFC-123)

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Analyses of emissions, and consequent chlorine loading, show that projected use of 2,2-dichloro-1,1,1-trifluoroethane (HCFC-123) will result in a virtually indiscernible impact on stratospheric ozone. Parametric scenarios uphold this conclusion, even for extreme levels of emissions far exceeding those of current technologies and practices. Additional scenarios reaffirm the conclusion for continued use - beyond the scheduled phaseout date - as a refrigerant in closed systems. By contrast, use of this compound offers unique opportunities to reduce global warming. Moreover, time-dependent analyses show that the minimal contribution to stratospheric chlorine from HCFC-123 emissions will not peak until more than a decade after the residual peaks of chlorine and bromine, from prior chlorofluorocarbon and halon releases, subside. While no single index exists to compare the relative demerits of ozone depletion and climate change, three conclusions are clear. First, reversal of the buildup of bromine and chlorine (i.e., healing of the 'ozone layer') is underway and progressing on target, while sufficient practical remedies for global climate change are far more difficult. Second, the analyses show that phaseout of all chlorinated, and conceptually - but much less probably - all brominated, compounds of anthropogenic origin targets some compounds that provide environmental benefits. Most chlorinated and brominated compounds do warrant phaseout; the exceptions are those with very short atmospheric lifetimes, and consequent low ozone depletion potential (ODP), that also offer offsetting environmental benefits. And third, since new global environmental concerns may, and probably will, be identified in the future, a more scientific approach is needed to determine environmental acceptability or rejection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-474
Number of pages36
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Atmospheric Science


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