The reports continue to flow in: Climate Change: The Earth Shall Win, People Shall Lose! by Dahr Jamail, Author, ‘Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches from an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq. Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dahr-jamail/climate-change-science_b_4459037.html?utm_hp_ref=science&ir=Science
As the world struggles to control climate change, a ray of hope surfaced with the announcement that the hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is shrinking and may make a full recovery in the near future.
The ozone layer contains over 90% of all atmospheric ozone, extends between 12 miles to 19 miles (20 to 30 kilometers) above Earth’s surface. The layer is very important for life on Earth because it has the property of absorbing the most damaging form of UV radiation, UV-B radiation, which causes sunburn and skin cancer. The hole is the result of human-produced chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), halons, and carbon tetrachloride used in aerosols and refrigeration escaping into the atmosphere.
Discovering Antarctica explains:
“….. CFCs and other ozone depleting gases may come from anywhere, but it is in the south polar stratosphere where the conditions become most favorable for ozone destruction. The key factor is the presence of stratospheric clouds, where high winds cause a vortex of cold air to circulate over the continent, and the lack of atmospheric mixing between the south polar latitudes and air from elsewhere during the austral winter and early spring (CFCs are especially effective at depleting ozone in the frigid temperatures over Antarctica). “
“….. both problems (hole in ozone layer and climate change) are the result of atmospheric pollution, the causes and consequences relating to each are very different. Despite the differences, there are also some links between the two problems. For example, in addition to causing ozone depletion, CFCs are also a greenhouse gas – so phasing out the production of CFCs helps in combating climate change as well as repairing the ozone layer.”
Discovering Antarctica further states, “Soon after the scale of ozone depletion over Antarctica became apparent in 1985, an historic international agreement was signed (the Montreal Protocol) which came into force in 1989. The protocol set deadlines for reducing and eliminating the production and use of ozone depleting substances. It also promoted research and development into finding ozone safe substitute chemicals for the uses to which CFCs, …..”
Ratified by 195 countries, the protocol has been described as one of the most successful international treaties. A New York Times article states:
“It (the Montreal Protocol ) incorporates pragmatic, business-friendly principles that have allowed it to operate smoothly for more than two decades, achieving its goals — and then some — with little controversy … If production (of CFCs) had been allowed to continue, a batch of scientific studies show, the planet would most likely be warming a lot faster than it is.”
While levels of ozone depleting chlorine in the atmosphere have decreased as a result of the protocol, it’s too soon to tie them to a healthier ozone layer. Ryan Grenoble reports in The Huffington Post:
“….. the scientists believe the most recent ozone hole changes, including both the largest hole ever, in 2006, and one of the smallest holes, in 2012, are primarily due to weather. Strong winds have the ability to move ozone in large quantities, effectively blocking the hole some years, while failing to block it in others.”
“….. weather is expected to be the predominant factor in the ozone hole’s size until 2025, at which point CFCs will have dropped enough as a result of the Montreal Protocol to become noticeable.”
“….. however, the ozone hole is expected to have made a full recovery by 2070.”
NASA states: “There was a lot of Antarctic ozone depletion in 2013, but because of above average temperatures in the Antarctic lower stratosphere, the hole was a bit below average compared to ozone holes observed since 1990,” said Paul Newman, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
So how can a carbon-based society change to a more sustainable approach? Controlling harmful CFC emissions by prohibiting its use in aerosols and refrigerants is significantly less complex than combating greenhouse gas emissions from burning fossil fuels. Major battlefields exist in every sector of society – domestic and international. The cause of the ozone hole was met early on with a general international agreement on what the scientists had to say. It has taken the global community much longer to accept the scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change.
In addition, the cost impact of phasing out CFCs was negligible in comparison to the apparent cost of converting over to clean energy. The technological obstacles finding CFC’s substitutes were also not as severe as developing an installed base of suitable alternative fuels on the world stage.
In closing, there appears to be only one answer that makes “cents.” That’s right dollars and cents. Only when fossil fuels become precious and priced, accordingly will there be a gold rush towards clean fuels. Will this happen in the near term, doubtful. Not in the face of cheap coal, stable crude oil production, and abundant natural gas reserves. Otherwise, please be the first in line to gladly accept higher prices for fuel, electricity and food, just to name a few.
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
May Peace, Joy, Hope and Happiness be yours during this Holiday Season and throughout the New Year
China’s growing role as the world’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions is undisputed. China is the epicenter of building out environmental markets as it struggles to balance the need for economic growth and climate protection. But is China’s leadership sincere and capable to stem the tide of environmental doom?
On the world stage, China’s Reaction to the New IPCC Climate Change Report is loud but feeble. Their “710-page Second National Assessment Report on Climate Change, warns that the nation faces extremely grim ecological and environmental consequences from global warming. Even at the recent Conference of Parties (COP), China announced it is seeking to cut emissions per unit of economic output by at least 40 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/barbara-a-finamore/what-is-chinas-reaction-t_b_4005025.html
The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that, China’s new clothes are not so new after all. In one of the most distorted thinking of the 21st century, Huffington Post reported “China’s state-run media announced in an editorial that there are actually some benefits to China’s smog. This announcement comes after “thick blankets of smog forced schools and airports to close across China …..”
The editorial states “five unexpected gains the haze has brought such as uniting people across social boundaries by affecting both the affluent and impoverished, and has also spurred citizens to turn to comedy in the face of the health hazard.” “Another nationalist (China) newspaper, Global Times, also published a report on the potential military advantages of China’s smog. The piece claims that since dense air pollution lowers visibility, China’s smog may actually cripple missile guidance systems.”
Earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported “China’s state media announced that the government would invest 1.8 trillion yuan ($294 billion USD) in the five years through 2015 as part of the nation’s efforts to counter climate change.” Future, Bloomberg news reported “China may invest another 2.3 trillion yuan in key energy-saving and emission-reducing projects….”
In closing, making environmental benefits out of environmental destruction is without exception the quintessential example of screwed up logic and inept political thinking. While China has invested considerable sums of money to combat environmental pollution, the terms “would invest” and “may invest” are less than reassuring. Just ask the Dutch boy who tried to plug a levee with his finger.
Is Keeping Promises a Thing of the Past?
There seems to be alarming trend in the business world today with the ever increasing number of people who make commitments and fail to do what they say. In the past, one’s word was golden; today it’s dust in the wind. It’s my perception that these people never intend to do what they say in the first place. Their word is cheap; their talk is cheap. A most dangerous trend!