Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Emissions in China: An Inventory for 2005–2013 and Projections to 2050

Fang, X., G. J. M. Velders, A. R. Ravishankara, M. J. Molina, J. Hu, and R. G. Prinn
Environmental Science and Technology, 50 (4), 2027-2034, DOI:10.1021/acs.est.5b04376, 2016.

Many hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that are widely used as substitutes for ozone-depleting substances (now regulated under the Montreal Protocol) are very potent greenhouse gases (GHGs). China’s past and future HFC emissions are of great interest because China has emerged as a major producer and consumer of HFCs. Here, we present for the first time a comprehensive inventory estimate of China’s HFC emissions during 2005–2013. Results show a rapid increase in HFC production, consumption, and emissions in China during the period and that the emissions of HFC with a relatively high global warming potential (GWP) grew faster than those with a relatively low GWP. The proportions of China’s historical HFC CO2-equivalent emissions to China’s CO2emissions or global HFC CO2-equivalent emissions increased rapidly during 2005–2013. Using the “business-as-usual” (BAU) scenario, in which HFCs are used to replace a significant fraction of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in China (to date, there are no regulations on HFC uses in China), emissions of HFCs are projected to be significant components of China’s and global future GHG emissions. However, potentials do exist for minimizing China’s HFC emissions (for example, if regulations on HFC uses are established in China). Our findings on China’s historical and projected HFC emission trajectories could also apply to other developing countries, with important implications for mitigating global GHG emissions.