Emissions and degradation products

Look from outer space: the Indian OceanClick to enlarge
Sun and clouds over the Indian Ocean
Source: NASA

Fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases, i.e. partially fluorinated hydrocarbons, fully fluorinated hydrocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride) are used for purposes such as refrigerants, foam blowing agents in certain foam products, and insulating gas in switchgears. Some of these substances have an extremely high Global Warming Potential.

Climate protection programmes

The EU has decided to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent below 1990 levels in the run-up to 2020. This applies to carbon dioxide as well as to fluorinated greenhouse gases (F-gases). To this end, Germany will need to cut its emissions of all greenhouse gases by 14 percent relative to 2005 levels in the run-up to 2020. Hence reports on fluorinated greenhouse gas emissions no longer constitute a merely voluntary status-description measure, but are a climate control instrument.

Reporting obligations

As a signatory to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Germany is required to compute and publish its emission inventories annually. Pursuant to international climate protection treaties, Germany also submits its annual emissions data to the European Commission.

Degradation products

Fluorinated gases degrade in the atmosphere into several substances. Next to fluorinated acid (HF) the persistent and very mobile trifluoroacetic acid (TFA) can be formed.