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In recent years, there has been growing concern that the release of certain synthetic chemicals, including the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), may contribute to the depletion of the earth's protective stratospheric ozone layer. This Note examines, from an economic perspective, the forces that will shape long-term emission profiles for seven chemicals, including the two major CFCs, suspected of contributing to potential ozone depletion. The study adopts a long time frame for analysis, simulating emission profiles from 1980 through 2075. The findings indicate that under no circumstances do zero growth assumptions appear to be a reasonable basis for calculating long-term emission profiles. Moreover, growth rates in production and emissions of these chemicals will probably be higher in the next few decades than in the more distant future. Holding other things constant, this will tend to increase expected ozone depletion relative to model results obtained by making unrealistic steady-state emissions estimates. The authors emphasize the need for further research on this policy issue.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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