atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#495: Kyoto protocol leads to destruction of ozone?

Neal Boortz mentions this today. I'm not quite sure I understand it.

I get the part that certain factories are making more of a hydroflourocarbon (HFC) which is 12,000 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide is--making more so they can make money in trading carbon offsets.

What I don't get is the business with the HFCs. I thought HFCs were supposed to be ozone friendly. Now I'm being told that HFCs destroy ozone.

The more I know the less I understand, I guess.

Here's what I know: the eco-nazis told us we had to ban the production of chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) like Freon and R-12 because it supposedly destroyed the ozone. Although the existence of the ozone "hole" had been discovered and explained in the 1950s, and forgotten, suddenly in the 1980s it was an eco-catastrophe and the manufacture of CFCs had to be banned in order to save the ozone layer.

DuPont, which owned the patents on CFCs, supported this ban. The patents were about to expire, and DuPont just happened to have patents on HFCs, "ozone-safe" refrigerants which were inferior to CFCs, more expensive than CFCs, and more hazardous in various ways. (The HFC used in automobile air conditioners, R-134a, can catch fire. They didn't have that problem with R-12.)

...and so now I'm hearing that the HFCs are just as bad for the ozone layer as the CFCs were. Well, what the hell was the point of banning CFCs, then? I thought the chlorine was the problem; now I'm being told that it's not. WTF.

Of course there is an explanation for all this.

CFCs don't cause the ozone hole. They never did. The ozone hole existed before CFCs entered widespread use. The low ozone levels that we see today are largely the same as the low ozone levels which were observed and recorded in the 1950s, when the ozone hole was first discovered.

The ozone hole is a seasonal phenomenon which occurs in September and October, and which clears up by November or December at the latest. It's due to the peculiarities of weather patterns around Antarctica; and once the southern hemisphere's spring winds up into full gear, the ozone is replenished to normal levels. Sunlight makes ozone; ultraviolet light ionizes oxygen so that it can form the rather unstable O3 molecule.

So here we are. We were told we had to give up cheap and effective refrigerants, replacing them with expensive and inferior chemicals, because this would "save the ozone layer".

I'm speechless.

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