From: David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post
Published July 20, 2009 07:44 AM

Hydrofluorocarbons, Once a Solution, Now a Problem?

Scientists say the chemicals that helped solve the last global environmental crisis -- the hole in the ozone layer -- are making the current one worse.

They worked: The earth's protective shield seems to be recovering.


But researchers say what's good for ozone is bad for climate change. In the atmosphere, these replacement chemicals act like "super" greenhouse gases, with a heat-trapping power that can be 4,470 times that of carbon dioxide.

Now, scientists say, the world must find replacements for the replacements -- or these super-emissions could cancel out other efforts to stop global warming.

Last month, a group of scientists published a paper projecting that, if unchecked, the emissions would rise rapidly over the next 40 years. By 2050, they found, the amount of super greenhouse gases in the atmosphere might be equal to six or more years' worth of carbon dioxide emissions.

And last week, diplomats met in Geneva to discuss ideas for a worldwide reduction in HFCs.

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