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EIA Statement: CFC-11 Production in China

As noted in the New York Times story, In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China, EIA sources on the ground uncovered criminal actors in China illegally producing and using banned gas, CFC-11 for the foam industry.

Alexander von Bismarck, Executive Director EIA says: “The scale of this environmental crime is devastating with massive potential impact on the climate and the ozone layer. Our findings and other well placed sources in the Chinese chemical industry strongly suggest that this is a wider practice and could explain the majority of the rogue atmospheric emissions found in the study. We’ve given our evidence to the Chinese government and as shocking as it is, thanks to the Montreal Protocol there is a mechanism to stop these and other atmospheric super-pollutants.”

Scientists recently observed significant quantities of unaccounted for CFC-11, a potent ozone and climate destroyer, presenting one of the greatest environmental crime mysteries in modern history. EIA immediately started investigating and found new evidence that illegal CFC-11 is widely produced and used in China on a scale consistent with the emission estimates cited in the study. In a survey, EIA found multiple companies using CFC-11 almost exclusively for blowing agents in foams.

Avipsa Mahapatra, EIA Climate Policy Lead says: “It is outrageous that industrial climate-killers banned several years ago, continue to be produced, used and emitted at this scale in an industry where better technology is widely available. This could undermine not just the slowly healing ozone but also the global efforts to battle climate change. Our findings prove that enforcement is not a luxury but necessary to the​ ​success of the​ Montreal​ Protocol.​ ”

As an environmental watchdog group that uses undercover investigations as one means of exposing environmental crimes and criminals worldwide, EIA has ​shared its initial findings with the Chinese government. A full report is forthcoming in July.