The Learning Curve

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The economics and time-frame of climate change

The economics and time-frame of climate change

Do you remember the other climate change issue? Think “ozone hole.”

High altitude ozone (not ground level ozone) shields Earth from the suns ultraviolet radiation. Stratospheric ozone is nature’s sun-block and it was being depleted by man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), with the DuPont trade name “Freon.”

In 1978 the United States banned the use of CFCs such as Freon in aerosol cans. This was the beginning of a long series of regulatory actions against their use. The critical DuPont manufacturing patent for Freon expired in 1979 and in 1986 DuPont, with patents for replacement products in hand, publicly condemned CFCs.

Argentine scientists recently announced, “This year the ozone hole season was much shorter than in earlier years,” and it was not as large.

The observations confirm the findings of the latest report on the issue by the United Nations published in 2010. The study concluded that CFC elimination was having an effect and the ozone hole was not growing – a sign of recovery.

However, an expert pointed out, “we have not yet returned to the radiation levels we had in 1980,” since the chemicals that destroy ozone take 10 years to reach the stratosphere, and then the ozone layer takes time to recover.

Be happy DuPont saw the government regulation of CFCs to give it a profitable competitive advantage.

Sources:
Al Jazeera – Hopes grow on shrinking ozone hole
Wikipedia – Chlorofluorocarbon

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Written by Tom Fox

11/25/2012 at 8:50 am

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