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HFCs are man-made greenhouse gases used in air conditioning, refrigeration, solvents, foam blowing agents, and aerosols. Many HFCs remain in the atmosphere for less than 15 years. Though they represent a small fraction of the current total greenhouse gases (less than 1%), their warming impact is particularly strong and, if left unchecked, HFCs could account for nearly 20% of climate pollution by 2050. Their use is growing because they are being widely adopted as replacements for O3-depleting substances (ODS), including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), which are being phased out under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.
A recent study concluded that replacing high-GWP HFCs with low-GWP alternatives could avoid 0.1°C of warming by 2050 (Xu Y. et al. 2013).