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Scientific journal publication

A rise in HFC-23 emissions from eastern Asia since 2015

Park, Hyeri; Kim, Jooil; Choi, Haklim; Geum, Sohyeon; Kim, Yeaseul; Thompson, Rona Louise; Mühle, Jens; Salameh, Peter K.; Harth, Christina M.; Stanley, Kieran M.; O'Doherty, Simon; Fraser, Paul J.; Simmonds, Peter G.; Krummel, Paul B.; Weiss, Ray F.; Prinn, Ronald G.; Park, Sunyoung

Publication details

Journal: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics (ACP), vol. 23, 9401–9411, 2023

Doi: doi.org/10.5194/acp-23-9401-2023

Summary:
Trifluoromethane (CHF3, HFC-23), one of the most potent greenhouse gases among hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), is mainly emitted to the atmosphere as a by-product in the production of the ozone-depleting legacy refrigerant and chemical feedstock chlorodifluoromethane (CHClF2, HCFC-22). A recent study on atmospheric observation-based global HFC-23 emissions (top-down estimates) showed significant discrepancies over 2014–2017 between the increase in the observation-derived emissions and the 87 % emission reduction expected from capture and destruction processes of HFC-23 at HCFC-22 production facilities implemented by national phase-out plans (bottom-up emission estimates) (Stanley et al., 2020). However, the actual regions responsible for the increased emissions were not identified. Here, we estimate the regional top-down emissions of HFC-23 for eastern Asia based on in situ measurements at Gosan, South Korea, and show that the HFC-23 emissions from eastern China have increased from 5.0±0.4 Gg yr−1 in 2008 to 9.5±1.0 Gg yr−1 in 2019. The continuous rise since 2015 was contrary to the large emissions reduction reported under the Chinese hydrochlorofluorocarbons production phase-out management plan (HPPMP). The cumulative difference between top-down and bottom-up estimates for 2015–2019 in eastern China was  Gg, which accounts for 47±11 % of the global mismatch. Our analysis based on HCFC-22 production information suggests the HFC-23 emissions rise in eastern China is more likely associated with known HCFC-22 production facilities rather than the existence of unreported, unknown HCFC-22 production, and thus observed discrepancies between top-down and bottom-up emissions could be attributed to unsuccessful factory-level HFC-23 abatement and inaccurate quantification of emission reductions.