China feels the heat over rogue CFC emissions

The government plans to build a monitoring network in the wake of a study that attributed a spike in an ozone-depleting chemical to two Chinese provinces.

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When atmospheric models traced a mysterious spike of an ozone-destroying gas to two provinces in China earlier this year, scientists waited to see how the Chinese government — and other nations — would respond to this possible violation of international law.

Now the government is under pressure to act — and has presented a plan to help it track and reduce emissions of the chemical, known as trichlorofluoromethane or CFC-11. Measures include establishing a national monitoring network to track ozone-depleting chemicals, along with heftier penalties for companies caught illegally producing the chemical.

Details of the plan emerged in notes released last month from a May meeting of the Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol, held in Montreal, Canada.

The “document sets the stage for real progress on this important issue”, says David Fahey, director of the Chemical Sciences Division at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

By: David Cyranoski/ Nature News

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