It was done recently with Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), just as 20-30 years ago with Ozone Depletion. With AGW, it was hyped to be a destroyer of ecology, and a harbinger of possible death. Instead, people found natural variations changing earth’s climate, from hot to cold. It’s seems likely natural variations affect the ozone as well.
With ozone depletion, millions were (and are) convinced that chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), and certain brominated compounds (Halons) were the culprits. As a result, the most stable and non-toxic refrigerants, and safest halogenated fire retardants were phased out of production.
Two scientists—Roland and Molina—seemed determined to find and answer to suspected ozone (O3) depletion. Only problem was ozone was only being depleted in large quantities over the earth’s Antarctic pole.
Their theory claiming CFCs would deplete the ozone layer was actually theory #7, invented in December 1973. The first five ozone depletion theories (1-[SuperSonicTransport (SST)-water], 2-[SST-nitrogen oxides], 3-[atmospheric nuclear tests], 4-[fertilizers], and 5-[methane gases from cows]) didn’t quite fit the bill. Then, the theory “du-jour” (#6) was chlorine from the Space Shuttle exhaust would cause reduced ozone over Florida, and eventually deplete the ozone layer worldwide. However, Rowland and Molina later found a better source of chlorine in the atmosphere. Hence, theory #7–CFCs. (The Ozone Depletion Theory)
Their theory about ozone depletion couldn’t quite overcome a number of obstacles, however:
1) The first comprehensive worldwide measurements started in 1978, with the Nimbus-7 satellite. It was not known what was happening with ozone for the eons of prior earth history.
2) The ozone layer is likely self-correcting. With less O3, more UV rays can penetrate deeper into the atmosphere, encountering a higher O2 concentration, where it forms more O3. A likely reason for little, if any, additional UV radiation getting to the earth’s surface.
3) With purported ozone depletion, thinning of the ozone layer (no ‘hole’) that occurred throughout the 1980s apparently stopped in the early 1990s, too soon to credit implementation of the Montreal Protocol. A 1998 World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report said, “since 1991, the linear (downward) trend observed during the 1980s has not continued, but rather total column ozone has been almost constant …” [The Sentinel- The Ozone Layer: The hole truth.]
4) More importantly, the dreaded increase in ground level UVb failed to materialize. The much-hyped acceleration in skin cancer rates never existed, and nothing was documented. National Cancer Institute statistics show that malignant melanoma incidence and mortality, which had been undergoing a long-term increase predating alleged ozone depletion, has actually been leveling off during the putative ozone crisis.
5) Faced with assumed UVb increases from ozone destruction in the 1990’s, a Canadian Parliamentary Committee began investigating ozone depletion, with the intent to control the alleged problem. Major participants were in groups: 1) Friends of Earth (5 members), DuPont (5) [major CFC producer], and 3 climate scientists. Dr. Ball describes the proceedings in Ozone And Carbon Dioxide.
6) At the meeting, DuPont (largest producers of CFCs) reps said very little; they were already phasing out CFC’s, and had a replacement product (HFC-134A) in preparation.
7) A few other assumptions made were: a) early on it was assumed that UV light was a constant (not true with sunspot cycles); b) Roland and Molina demonstrated CFC’s could destroy ozone in very artificial laboratory conditions, c) there was no actual evidence of losses of stratospheric ozone other than Antarctica, but ozone levels were found higher than pre-protocol levels in 1989; d) Protocol participants intensely focused on CFC’s almost to exclusion of other possible explanations; e) bureaucracies were established, laws passed, and punishments determined for anyone caught using CFC’s; f) wind patterns (i.e., Circumpolar Vortex), and Polar Stratospheric Clouds (PSC) were considered possible explanations for destruction of ozone; and g) one point of CFC atmospheric lifetime was forgotten.
Further, no ecosystem or species was ever shown to be seriously harmed by ozone depletion. This is true even in
Antarctica, where the largest seasonal ozone losses, the so-called Antarctic ozone hole, occur annually.
8) Cosmic Rays (CRs) from space, and those emanating from the sun during sunspot activity, are the possible destroyers of ozone. Qing-Bin Lu’s latest proof of the CR theory for the ozone depletion was in Physical Review Letters on 3/19/9 [a pdf of the paper]. Dr. Lu, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada), said the fallacy was accepted for more than twenty years that Earth’s ozone layer is depleted by chlorine atoms produced by CFCs.
Lu and Sanche’s Study Suggests Cosmic Rays May Destroy Ozone: Scientific American. Results show that CR electrons are about a million times more likely to interact inside the cloud than anyone previously believed. They found evidence for their model in a laboratory simulation of the conditions found in Antarctic clouds. They cooled a metal bar to below -170 °C, and condensed water vapor and CFCs onto its surface. When they then bombarded this “cloud” with low-energy electrons like those produced by CR’s, chlorine was produced.
All recent scientific research indicated Cosmic rays linked to ozone hole – SciForums.com. Both Lu and Sanche analyzed reliable CR and ozone data during 1980-2007, which cover two full “Schwabe” 11-year sunspot cycles. This unambiguously showed the time correlations between CR intensity and ozone depletion, especially over Antarctica. [The Ozone Hole UW prof says cyclic ozone hole proves cosmic ray theory.] Qing-Bin Lu stating prior information on CFC ozone depletion emphatically (as indicated by his use of italics): “These conclusions were based on climate model simulations rather than direct observations.”
9) Stratospheric chemistry is very complex, so scientists were never sure how effective CFC’s would be at destroying O3.
The entire ozone scare orchestrated EPA’s $32 Trillion Negligible Risk. It is a fact that all CFC’s were not physically destroyed, although a small percentage was.
In 1992, International Refrigeration experts conservatively estimated that the ban on CFCs was going to kill between 20 to 40 million people every year, through hunger, starvation, and food-borne diseases.
The real nail in the coffin for CFC-12 is its atmospheric lifetime of 80-100 years. CFC 11/12/113 worldwide production maximized in 1985 at 2.1 billion pounds (writer is ex-DuPonter). Knowing CFC-12 was stable enough to last at least 80 years, 2060 is the year when maximum CFCs will have reached the stratosphere. It is a fact that all those CFC’s were not physically destroyed, although a small percentage was.
If UVb radiation had been increased by ozone depletion since 1960 CFC initial production, we would have all experienced increased rates of cancer by now, with the worst to come on 2060. The Montreal Protocol’s claim to fame was no increased cancers. That happened, but it does not seem what they did, diminished natural variances. In the meantime, millions of deaths, $32 trillion wastefully spent, and an intensely political issue was put to rest.
It is still true you can’t prove a negative.
Why is it that respected scientists won’t believe that an Intelligent Designer knew that ozone depletion would be suspected in the destruction of ozone, but had built in a compensating step to eliminate that hazard? Can man feel omnipotent enough where he believes he completely controls his destiny?
Kevin Roeten can be reached at [email protected].