Chemical plants in China and U.S. emit climate super-pollutant that’s 273 times more potent than CO2

By | May 1, 2023

Inside Climate News reports:

Twelve chemical plants in China and the United States emit a potent climate pollutant with collective emissions equal to the annual greenhouse gas emissions of 31 million automobiles, according to a report published on Thursday by Global Efficiency Intelligence, an industrial decarbonization research and consulting firm based in Tampa.

The emissions, which also deplete the earth’s protective ozone layer, could be effectively eliminated at little cost, the report’s authors conclude.

The 11 Chinese plants and one U.S. plant emit a combined, estimated total of approximately 500,000 metric tons of nitrous oxide (N2O), according to the report. On a pound-for-pound basis, N2O is 273 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, the primary driver of climate change.

The gas is an unwanted byproduct in the production of adipic acid, a key ingredient in nylon 6,6, a highly durable plastic used in airbags and car tires. Nitrous oxide emissions are also the leading, ongoing source of atmosphere ozone depletion after more harmful chemicals were banned in recent decades under the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement. [Continue reading…]