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Italy caught emitting 10 times as much of a potent greenhouse gas

Posted By Joanne Nova On August 22, 2011 @ 12:42 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

HFC-23 is 15,000 times as potent as CO2 in the greenhouse gas stakes. It’s only made by six factories in the whole of Europe.

Given that, you would think that they’d have this one esoteric compound completely tracked, measured to the nth, audited and cross checked, right? After all, how devastating would it be if governments can’t report something as simple as HFC-23 accurately, how could they possibly expect to run a global trading scheme on a gas like CO2, which is not just made in hundreds of factories, but thousands of cities, millions of cars, and billions of animals. Well, if you thought someone somewhere had a handle on those numbers, get ready to be corrected. Not only did people think it was a good idea if countries self-assessed their emissions, but they trusted those countries to accurately report numbers that millions of dollars of payments rested on, and nobody was looking too hard over their shoulder.

Who has been emitting twice as much HFC-23 as they admitted? That would be the whole of Western Europe. Italy, apparently, has snuck out 10 times asĀ  much.

So what does a “binding target” mean exactly? Not much. When we can’t measure the emissions easily, a “binding target” only binds governments to making reports stating that they met the binding target. (Even if they blew that target by 1000%.)

How emblematic of the whole enterprise. It’s like they don’t really care about the results, only that the appropriate bureaucratic machinery be in place and appearances established — which is “consistent with” (as they say) the whole theory being a front for an expansion of government and a boondoggle for banks, renewables, bureaucrats, climate “scientists”, Greens, etc etc.

Source: Science Daily

Under-Reported Greenhouse Gas Statistics? Sketchy Emission Reports Revealed by Swiss Measurements

…pollutant measurements carried out by researchers at Switzerland’s Empa now reveal that several countries under-report their emissions. For instance, Italy emits 10 to 20 times more HFC-23 than it officially reports.

Pollutant analyses by Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, — at the Jungfraujoch research station at 3580 metres above sea level, among others — using a special gas chromatograph mass spectrometer called ‘MEDUSA’ not only enables the emission levels of more than 50 halogenated GHG to be quickly and precisely evaluated; they also make it possible to identify the emission sources regionally, thanks to atmospheric and meteorological computer models. The sobering result: Western Europe emits around twice as much HFC-23 as officially reported. A corresponding study was recently published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

The usual suspects?

The suspicion that some countries have not been overly precise in reporting their GHG emissions has been around for some time; projections from measurements of the world-wide AGAGE network (Advanced Global Atmospheric Gases Experiment) showed significantly higher readings than officially reported. Reimann: “It was assumed that, above all, China and some developing countries did not correctly report their emissions levels.”

For example emissions of HFC-23, with an atmospheric half life of approximately 270 years an extremely long-lived GHG — and with a global warming potential 15,000 times greater than CO2 a particularly potent one. HFC-23 is produced as a by-product in the manufacture of chlorodifluoromethane (HCFC-22), which is used as a cooling and foaming agent and in Teflon production. The advantage of HFC-23 is that it is almost exclusively emitted by HCFC-22 manufacturers. And there were just six of them in Western Europe in 2008. Reimann: “That means we exactly know our point sources.”

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