Global warming would be much worse if the world had not put a halt to the destruction of the ozone hole above Antarctica, say researchers.
They say the 1987 Montreal Protocol, which restricts the use of CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals, will cut warming by five or six times more than the Kyoto Protocol.
The CFCs have made the ozone hole over the Antarctic much larger. Rapid economic growth in India and other Asian countries has slowed the decline in CFC emissions
For example, says atmospheric scientist Guus Velders of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in Bilthoven, the class of compounds known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) traps 5000 to 14,000 times more heat, pound for pound, than carbon dioxide, and 400 times more heat than methane.
DuPont advocates an accelerated phaseout of HCFCs, actions to minimize emissions of refrigerants and adoption of low global warming potential (GWP) alternatives, where possible. Last year, the company announced the identification of a low GWP refrigerant for auto air conditioning applications and is currently working on leveraging this low GWP technology to other refrigerant applications.
This reminds me of a recent story on how rapid economic growth in India, China, and other Asian countries is delaying the recovery of the ozone layer by a quarter of a century.
Scientists mostly blame chlorofluorocarbons, a chemical used in an early form of refrigerant that they now realize was released into the atmosphere in larger quantities than forecast. As a result, the international agencies now say that injury to the Earth's ozone layer could take a quarter of a century longer to heal than previously expected.
The fastest-growing offending gas that scientists say can be better managed is HCFC-22. Nearly 200 diplomats will gather in September in Montreal to determine how to speed up the timetable for the elimination of certain gases that threaten the ozone layer, in particular how to manage HCFC-22. A deadline for proposals is March 15.
The cheapest way to reduce global warming is to accelerate the phaseout of CFCs and HCFCs. The Bush Administration is proposing a more accelerated phaseout of HCFCs. Sounds like a good idea.
More generally: Rapid Asian economic growth means that Western efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are going to get swamped by larger Asian increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions. We need to accelerate the development of solar, nuclear, and other non-fossil fuels energy technologies to lower their costs below the costs of fossil fuels. The Asians will shift toward non-fossil fuel energy sources if these sources are cheaper. Otherwise, expect more CO2 emissions.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2007 March 05 11:59 PM Climate Trends|