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Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 12 | Copyright
Atmos. Chem. Phys., 13, 6083-6089, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/acp-13-6083-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 26 Jun 2013

Research article | 26 Jun 2013

The role of HFCs in mitigating 21st century climate change

Y. Xu1, D. Zaelke2, G. J. M. Velders3, and V. Ramanathan1 Y. Xu et al.
  • 1Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, 9500 Gilman Dr., La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
  • 2Program on Governance for Sustainable Development, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, UC Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
  • 3National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box 1, 3720 BA Bilthoven, the Netherlands

Abstract. There is growing international interest in mitigating climate change during the early part of this century by reducing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), in addition to reducing emissions of CO2. The SLCPs include methane (CH4), black carbon aerosols (BC), tropospheric ozone (O3) and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). Recent studies have estimated that by mitigating emissions of CH4, BC, and O3 using available technologies, about 0.5 to 0.6 °C warming 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 cumulative warming since 2005 by 50% at 2050 and by 60% at 2100 from the CO2-only mitigation scenarios, significantly reducing the rate of warming and lowering the probability of exceeding the 2 °C warming threshold during this century.

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