The role of HFCs in mitigating 21st century climate change

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There is growing international interest in mitigat-ing climate change during the early part of this century by re-ducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), in addition to reducing emissions of CO 2 . The SLCPs include methane (CH 4), black carbon aerosols (BC), tropospheric ozone (O 3) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Recent studies have estimated that by mitigating emissions of CH 4 , BC, and O 3 using available technologies, about 0.5 to 0.6 • C warm-ing can be avoided by mid-21st century. Here we show that avoiding production and use of high-GWP (global warming potential) HFCs by using technologically feasible low-GWP substitutes to meet the increasing global demand can avoid as much as another 0.5 • C warming by the end of the century. This combined mitigation of SLCPs would cut the cumula-tive warming since 2005 by 50 % at 2050 and by 60 % at 2100 from the CO 2 -only mitigation scenarios, significantly reducing the rate of warming and lowering the probability of exceeding the 2 • C warming threshold during this century.




Xu, Y., Zaelke, D., Velders, G. J. M., & Ramanathan, V. (2013). The role of HFCs in mitigating 21st century climate change. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 13(12), 6083–6089.

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