Pollutant Information: PFCs 

About PFCs

Category: Greenhouse gases

Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) contribute to climate change due to their positive radiative forcing effect. Perfluorocarbons have a range of global warming potentials (GWP), which are much higher than that of carbon. However, the small quantities emitted mean that despite the high GWP values of the individual gases, the total contribution to GWP weighted greenhouse gas emissions in the UK is small.

Since 1990, total emissions of PFCs have declined by 80%. Historically, the largest source of PFCs has been the aluminium production sector, which accounted for 94% of emissions in 1990, and still 45% as recently as 2011. By 2013, the sector's contribution had dropped to 2%, due to the closure of the last large aluminium smelting plant in the UK in March 2012. The largest emitting sector in 2015 is electronics, accounting for around half of total emissions.

» View and Download PFCs emission summary data

Time series graph


Notable events

Start year End year Sector Information Impact
1990 2005 Aluminium Production Decline in PFC emissions (a by-product of reactions in the process for manufacturing aluminium) through declining aluminium production and improved efficiencies in the process. Decrease in emissions
1990 2000 Halocarbons Use Increase in the use of PFC in the manufacture of semiconductors. Decrease in emissions

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