A tale of two chemicals: N2O and HFCs and their potential inclusion in the Montreal Protocol
August 8, 2013
Hosted by Jeff Collett
Chemical Sciences Division
Earth System Research Laboratory
NOAA, Boulder, CO
The role of nitrous oxide in the depletion of the ozone layer is well documented. Its efficiency changes in a changing climate and continued changes in the atmospheric composition. Nitrous oxide is also a potent greenhouse gas. Hydrofluorocarbons, HFCs, do not deplete the ozone layer, but are potent greenhouse gases. HFCs are being put into the atmosphere mostly because of the Montreal Protocol that curtailed the use of ozone depleting substance and HFCs emerged as a major substitute for those chemicals.
There are interesting similarities and differences in dealing with HFCs and N2O. I will discuss the science behind the environmental impacts of these two chemicals and note their implications to potential decision making.