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Newly identified greenhouse gas with no known use an ‘early warning’



Montreal Protocol doesn’t sufficiently control harmful by-products made during other chemical production processes, say atmospheric scientists

An international network of climate scientists has detected increasing atmospheric concentrations of three greenhouse gases that have no known uses. The group says that the findings highlight gaps in the regulation of ozone-depleting substances produced as by-products during the manufacture of other chemicals.

Researchers from the Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment (Agage) network believe the ‘unexpected’ emissions of three HCFCs are by-products from other processes. This means that there are no public inventories or emission reports available for them. The Agage team says that this highlights a weakness in the Montreal Protocol – a major international treaty to phase out ozone-depleting substances, which is credited with helping to reverse much of the damage caused to the ozone layer in the 20th century.