Emissions of CFC substitutes now feared

The greenhouse gas emissions generated by chlorofluorocarbon substitutes are expected to soar in the next decade, according to predictions issued by a business organization and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, informed sources said Monday.

Emissions of these substances — hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) — are expected to triple from their 2003 levels around 2010.

HFCs replaced ozone-depleting CFCs, which have been banned in developed countries since 1995. They are used as coolants in air conditioners, refrigerators, foam-blowing sprays and other products.

PFCs are used in the manufacturing of semiconductors, while SF6 is used as an insulator.

CFC substitutes produce 2 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in Japan, according to analysts.

Increased emissions of CFC substitutes will make it difficult for Japan to achieve its targets for cutting greenhouse gases under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

Under the treaty, Japan must slash emissions of such gases by 6 percent from their 1990 levels by 2008-2012.

Japan used 25.8 million tons of CFC substitutes in 2003, with this amount expected to rise to 73.7 million tons in 2010, according to the predictions.

The surge has been caused by increased use of HFCs in dust-blowing sprays.