Chlorofluorocarbons Definition

by Laurent Cousineau

Chlorofluorocarbons are compounds containing only carbon, chlorine, hydrogen, and fluorine.

Also known as CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons are greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances that can cause the formation of holes in the ozone layer.

Essentially, these chemicals which are not destroyed in the troposphere drift upwards to the stratosphere and then break down ozone when they are under the right atmospheric conditions.

Originally, CFCs were used for:

  • aerosols
  • propellants
  • air conditioning
  • insulation
  • packaging
  • refrigeration
  • solvents


Since CFCs were banned under the 1987 Montreal Protocol for harming the ozone layer, hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which were less powerful ozone depleting substances, were temporarily used instead.

Later, hydrofluorocarbons, which do not break down the ozone layer, were used as an alternative.

However, hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons are both greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto Protocol.

Greenhouse Gases

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Climate Change Glossary.

Return to Top of Page  

Like This Page?

Recent Articles

  1. Interview With Jonah Bryson: "If we fail to protect the environment, nothing else matters"

    Nov 07, 16 12:21 AM

    We had the chance to speak with Film Director, Musician and Conservationist Jonah Bryson during TIFF 2016. Bryson has directed “The Fight For Bala”, a

    Read More

  2. Climate is Back

    Nov 07, 16 12:19 AM

    As I engage relentlessly in the fight to mobilize a complacent public and encourage reluctant politicians to focus on climate change action, I’ve come

    Read More

  3. Politicians Need to Break Free From Fossil Fuels

    Nov 06, 16 11:39 PM

    It’s time to break free from fossil fuels! It’s not time to promote pipelines and expand tar sands production in an attempt to create short-term jobs.

    Read More

  4. The Tides They Are A Changin'

    Nov 06, 16 11:18 PM

    We are really screwing up the Earth, and not having another one handy we need to get the message out to change our ways before it's too late. We cannot

    Read More

  5. Dying for Your Planet

    Oct 30, 16 02:51 PM

    Have you ever thought about what you value so much that you'd be willing to die for? What immediately comes to my mind is that I would do anything to keep

    Read More

Alternative Energy








How to Help


Important News

Sign a Petition!