Environmental questions about HFOs

By Michael Garry, Dec 18, 2017, 23:28 1 minute reading

At MOP29, European Commission’s Owen says TFA formation from HFOs requires further evaluation.

MOP29, in Montreal, Canada

HFOs came up as a topic of some concern last month at MOP29 – the 29th Meeting of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

Philip Owen, from the European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, cited the Ozone Research Managers' conclusion that the formation of toxic TFA (trifluoroacetic acid), as well as tropospheric ozone, results from the degradation of HFOs. This "is a concern which requires further research and evaluation."

Questions have been raised about HFOs’ impact on the environment, particularly their decomposition in the atmosphere into TFA, a long-lasting substance that descends to the earth as a form of “acid rain” and accumulates in freshwater bodies.

TFA’s long-term toxicity has been the subject of ongoing scientific study. One 2014 study in Chemosphere – “A 17-fold increase of trifluoroacetic acid in landscape waters of Beijing, China during the last decade” – recommended that “measures are needed to control the increase of TFA in China.” 

[TFA formation] "is a concern which requires further research and evaluation."
– Philip Owen, European Commission, 

In other activity at MOP29, Norway and Switzerland reintroduced a draft decision to adopt a "precautionary approach" to the development and promotion of low-GWP one-component HFCs that are not listed as controlled substances by the Kigali HFC phase-down scheme and have a GWP greater than 53 (the lowest GWP of covered HFCs).

And in a final decision, the Parties at MOP29 requested the Protocol Assessment Panels to provide a report evaluating the consumption and production of these low-GWP HFCs in time for the MOP in 2023 and every four years thereafter.

By Michael Garry

Dec 18, 2017, 23:28

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