Then came the 1980s. A small glimmer of environmental enlightenment pushed world leaders to convene, sign the Montreal Protocol and universally ratify it. This momentous development phased out the use of chlorofluorocarbons due to the harmful chlorine they release when heated up in the atmosphere. But, like we said, it was the 1980s, and no one was about to give up the convenience associated with central air conditioning units and refrigerated casserole left-overs. So, we replaced CFCs with another kind of halocarbon gas that has just as many syllables but left the ozone layer intact: hydrofluorocarbons. Now, HFCs are being used in everything from refrigerators and A/Cs to insulation and heat pumps.
According to an article by James West on grist.org, these gases “still trap a lot of heat, adding to global warming. Scientists say that if HFCs aren’t curbed in the same way as their CFC cousins, this whole family of gases — called halocarbons — could accelerate the next century’s expected warming by about 20 years.”
Scientists also say that HFCs have several hundred times more “global warming potential” than carbon dioxide. Therefore, thirty-five nations and the European Union decided to curb hydrofluorocarbons following the recent G20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. Plus, President Obama and President Xi of China agreed to limit the greenhouse gases earlier this year.