Potential Constraints on Cumulative Global Production of Chlorofluorocarbons

by W. E. Mooz, Kathleen A. Wolf, Frank Camm

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Atmospheric models have suggested that cumulative emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) pose a potential threat to the stratospheric ozone layer, but cumulative emissions can grow only if the supply of these chemicals is not constrained. Observers have suggested a wide range of potential supply constraints, two of which could have a significant effect on long-run cumulative emissions: (1) regulation-induced disincentives to invest in new CFC production capacity, and (2) natural limits on the economic availability of the fluorine used to manufacture CFCs. This report examines the likely importance of these two constraints by focusing on the two CFCs with the greatest potential to deplete stratospheric ozone, CFC-11 and CFC-12. The findings suggest that regulation-induced disincentives to invest and natural limits on fluorine sources should not impede continued production of CFC-11 and CFC-12.

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