Greenies: Destroying the planet in order to save it?

Posted by: ST on July 20, 2009 at 6:38 pm

The WaPo’s “Green” section published an article yesterday on how the chemicals that allegedly helped “solve” the ozone layer problem have been making the overall environment worse (h/t: ST reader Leslie):

This is not the funny kind of irony: Scientists say the chemicals that helped solve the last global environmental crisis — the hole in the ozone layer — are making the current one worse.

The chemicals, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), were introduced widely in the 1990s to replace ozone-depleting gases used in air conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foam.

They worked: The earth’s protective shield seems to be recovering.

But researchers say what’s good for ozone is bad for climate change. In the atmosphere, these replacement chemicals act like “super” greenhouse gases, with a heat-trapping power that can be 4,470 times that of carbon dioxide.

Now, scientists say, the world must find replacements for the replacements — or these super-emissions could cancel out other efforts to stop global warming.

“Whatever targets you thought you were going to make,” said David Fahey, a physicist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “it will be undermined by the fact that you have . . . additional emissions that you hadn’t planned on.”

The colorless, odorless replacement chemicals enter the atmosphere in tiny amounts, often leaking out of refrigerators and air conditioners, or escaping when those machines break and are improperly dumped. They now account for about 2 percent of the climate-warming power of U.S. emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

That is still far less than carbon dioxide, which is produced by burning fossil fuels and accounts for about 85 percent of the problem. And it is less than the roughly 10 percent of warming from methane, which comes from sources including farm animals and decomposing trash.

But in recent weeks, these obscure gases have been given a higher profile in the carbon-dominated debate on climate change.

Last month, a group of scientists published a paper projecting that, if unchecked, the emissions would rise rapidly over the next 40 years. By 2050, they found, the amount of super greenhouse gases in the atmosphere might be equal to six or more years’ worth of carbon dioxide emissions.

Er, um – obvious (and hopefully not stupid) question: Was there not any way that any of the scientific “geniuses” who came up with the idea of HFCs could have tested them out in a controlled environment, done more research, or something to figure out whether or not the chemicals would do more harm than good to the environment before they were introduced for use? Second question: How much play will this report get in the pro-alarmist mainstream media? Will Dr. Heidi Cullen breathlessly report on the Weather Channel that some of the very same scientists/chemists in the agw community who were charged with “making our environment greener” are responsible for super greenhouse gases infecting our environment now to the point the same community is going to be charged with trying to find replacements for the replacements?

Final question: Anyone other than me see the irony in their implied suggestion that they should be trusted to “solve” the problem that their original “solution” helped create?

And there’s even more irony where that came from: Ladies and gentlemen, some of our global warming issues have indeed been created by man – the liberal male and female scientists who continually warn of impending doom if we don’t do something now. Wonder how many carbon credits they’ll have to purchase in order to offset their damage? ;)

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11 Responses to “Greenies: Destroying the planet in order to save it?”


  1. Severian says:

    Well, considering that the efforts they are taking to limit “global warming” are completely ineffective (they won’t do squat because CO2 is not the boogyman, and even if it was the actions they propose are worthless), it’s not hard to counteract their efforts. But it’s worse than that…the CFCs they were so hot to ban have been found to not cause ozone depletion anyway, they are too heavy to make it that high up in the atmosphere. Also, isn’t it interesting that the big ozone hole is over the south pole, while most CFCs are used and emitted in the northern hemisphere? Research done in the 50’s and 60’s tracking radioactive isotopes from fallout from nuclear testing showed that the northern and southern hemispheres do not mix rapidly, so there goes that well mixed atmosphere trope.

    But I’ve also seen where the people responsible for the CFC ban admitted that it was not going to do anything to close the ozone hole, it was a proof of principle exercise to see how to push global governance by passing a global law banning CFCs. Just like AGW is not about warming but “social justice.”

  2. Carlos says:

    And AGW is not about social justice, either, it’s about controlling every aspect of the commoners’ miserable existences. It’s gotten to the point where most global alarmists don’t even pretend about it anymore, they just flat out say that’s their agenda because “it’s the only way to save the earth”.

  3. camojack says:

    The thing about that hole in the ozone layer…it wasn’t caused by CFCs; it was caused by Mt. Erebus, a volcano in Antarctica. :-?

  4. Carlos says:

    Here’s some more “sky is falling” news: a new “study” shows the west coast of the U.S. may be subject to worse and more potent earthquakes and tsunamis than previously thought.

    Well, duh! Studies in the past have shown earthquake potential to easily be in the 9 – 10 range on the west coast, so I have no idea why they think this is news.

    Unless, of course, it’s just to keep the fears of the masses stoked so they won’t pay attention to the disaster in D.C. Or to sell more papers?

  5. Ron Russell says:

    If a first you don’t succeed try and try again. Its a time tested scientific method called trial and error. The only problem as I see it is that what are they trying to fix—what exactly is broken (perhaps, just perhaps it mother nature). Their is a natural ebb and flow to all things and when man steps in often something happens he hasn’t planned for, “law of unintended consequences”.

  6. Leslie says:

    Your h/t is returned.

    Ron Russell:
    Exactly right! When you try something w/o knowing what exactly is broken, then for sure there are going to be unintended consequences–just like the one WAPO reports.

  7. Severian says:

    That’s the problem with trying to manipulate large, chaotic systems like the earth’s weather/climate, or things like the stock market/economy. You will never know just what variables are important, and how they are truly interrelated. You don’t really want to go pulling on something till you know what it’s attached to, you have as great or more a chance of making things worse in unexpected ways, if you can even make any difference at all. With systems as large as the earth, it’s unlikely what you do will matter much period (see CO2 and it’s non-impact). People have no concept of the orders of magnitude involved, what sounds big to a person is trivially insignificant to a planetary system. Locally, yeah, you can poison your own nest, but globally, harder to do by far.

    I remember back as an undergrad, we had a prof assign us to look at the lunatic idea of using an A-bomb to blow out a hurricane. Some lunatic had this idea, detonate a bomb in the eye of a hurricane to shut it down. Well, we did a back of the envelope calculation of how much energy is in a disk of atmosphere the size of a hurricane spinning around. We underestimated by assuming it was a single disk at a single angular velocity (not true, there’s a ton more energy in an actual storm than this). What we found was that compared to the hurricanes energy, the bomb was like passing wind in a sandstorm, the only result is that now you’d have radioactive rain.

    No reason not to use every mathematical tool and simulation in your bag to try and understand chaotic systems, that’s a great and rewarding thing to do. You will never completely grasp it, but human knowledge is expanded by things like this, but to assume you know enough to try and manipulate things is just arrogance of the most dangerous kind.

  8. Carlos says:

    Well said, Severian. Thomas Sowell has a book on the topic well worth reading, called “The Vision of the Anointed”. He explains, in gritty detail, just how arrogant it is of humans to assume they enough to understand the consequences of nearly any action designed to manage individual behavior on a massive scale.

  9. Steve Skubinna says:

    This is not the funny kind of irony:

    Wrong. It’s so hysterically funny that’d I’d have snorted a beverage through my nose had I been drinking. This is also the kind of stupidity that will kill us all of we continue to allow these statist morons any hold on the reins of power.

  10. 2Hotel9 says:

    Here you go, basic and simple. CFCs are heavier than air, they sink to the ground and break down into the component elements. HFCs are lighter than air, rise into the atmosphere and do not break down. Ever.

    I am a high school drop out, and I understood this simply basic fact in 1986, when I was training to be a HVAC/Refrigeration technician.

  11. Carlos says:

    Which just goes to show that if you scream a lie loud enough, long enough, it becomes the truth. Goebels would be so proud of his NAZI greenies.

    Since the greenies can’t admit they screwed up royally, that leaves only one solution for them: eliminate anything that requires such chemicals. Refrigeration and air conditioning come immediately to mind, but also scientific research requiring cold temperatures.

    Losing the scientific research probably wouldn’t affect the greenies, though. They’ve never paid the least bit of attention to sound science anyway.