Global Bodies Went Off the Rails When They Scrapped Ozone, Targeted Carbon Dioxide

Some of us old timers who grew up in Southern California recall the inversion layers of particles in the valleys that trapped smog. 

We later learned that the haze we saw (which was then called 'smog') was ozone, created primarily from vehicle emissions.  That was “bad” ozone. There also was naturally occurring (good) ozone, generated by the sun’s reactions with naturally emitted hydrocarbons (e.g. pine trees) that one sees over the Great Smoky Mountains.  Ozone is important, since its layer in the stratosphere protects us from intense UV radiation that is associated with skin cancer.  So, years ago, the world’s leaders got together to stop the degradation of the ozone layer by ending use of ozone-depleting chemicals. I wrote about that at American Thinker last October, in an article titled, “What’s the Endgame with Ozone.” 

What I want to do now, is show that it's still the ozone-depleting chemicals, rather than the now-vaunted carbon dioxide, as what's most critical to what happens with climate.

Once upon a time, the global bodies had been on the right track.

On Sept. 16, 1987, 46 countries signed the Montreal Protocol to stop using ozone-depleting chemicals (ODCs).  There are 200 countries that have eventually endorsed the Montreal Protocol.  Developed countries were to lead the effort to roll back ODCs while developing countries were allowed a more relaxed period to stop their use.  I believe that the Montreal Protocol was a trial balloon for the Kyoto Protocol, which was all about carbon dioxide emissions.

The Kyoto Protocol was actually an international treaty which extended the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that committed state parties to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, based on the “scientific consensus” that (part one) global warming is occurring and (part two) it is extremely likely that human-made CO2 emissions have predominantly caused it.   The Kyoto Protocol applies to the six greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide (CO2)Methane (CH4)nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur hexafluoride (SF6).  The Kyoto Protocol was considered unsuccessful, since developing countries were not signatory to it.  They emit at least half of the world’s greenhouse gases.  Then the UNFCCC tried to put lipstick on a pig (author’s opinion) by then developing the Paris accord.

The Paris agreement a.k.a., the Paris accord is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.  Its goal is to lower global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, comparable to pre-industrial levels.  To achieve this long-term temperature goal, countries aim to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible to achieve a climate neutral world by mid-century.  Note the “enforcement date” was four days before the national elections when Donald J. Trump was elected our 45th President.  Shortly after being elected, President Trump removed the United States from the constraints of the Paris accord. 

As expected, shortly after Joe Biden took office, he reversed President Trump’s actions on the Paris accord. Since this is a treaty, the Senate is required to vote on its ratification, requiring 67 senators to vote 'yes' to encumber the United States to this international treaty.  Will the Senate under Chuck Schumer take this up quickly since it is such an emergency for the progressive socialists?

The basic premise for these protocols a.k.a., international treaties, is that global warming, synonymous with climate change, is caused by greenhouse gas emissions.  The following from Wikipedia is a simplified example of the greenhouse effect:

Light energy (white arrows) emitted by the sun warms the earth's surface, which reflects the energy as heat (orange arrows) that warms the atmosphere. Much of the heat is captured by greenhouse gas molecules such as water, carbon dioxide, and methane.

Solar radiation keeps the earth’s average temperature at approximately 59 degrees Fahrenheit.  But the greenhouse gas molecules in the atmosphere absorb some of the incoming infrared radiation from the sun.  When the sun sets, these heated gas molecules transmit heat back to earth and to space.  This phenomenon is called “black body radiation.”  Note that heat moves from a warmer body to a colder body according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics.  Resistance to this heat flow is insulation such as other layers of gases that might impede or slow down the flow.  Ask yourself what the prior to sunrise temperature is versus the high temperature for the preceding day.  Now think about the outside temperature that the airline pilot tells you it is at while you are flying at nearly 40,000 feet.  Does about -40 F ring a bell?  The propensity of a warm object to flow to a colder object increases the greater the temperature difference, right?

Let’s return to the Montreal Protocol’s purpose.  The world needed to stop using ozone-depleting chemicals (ODCs) since their emission into the atmosphere destroyed the ozone layer that protects us from severe ultraviolet rays.  The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) located in Boulder, Colorado, synthesizes work done by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) under sponsorship of the National Science Foundation (NSF).  NSF provides research grants (federal money) to colleges and universities to conduct atmospheric research.  NCAR administers this funding.  UCAR takes the results and simplifies them for redistribution to the public.

UCAR issued a brief article in 2018 titled, “Some Greenhouse Gases Are Stronger than Others”.  They discuss the relative heat-trapping characteristics of target substances: carbon dioxide (CO2)Methane (CH4)nitrous oxide (N2O), and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).  The relationship of heat trapping characteristics are:

CO2 – 1

CH4 – 30

N2O – 300

HFCs – 23,000

According to the 2016 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions data, the distribution is:

CO2 – 82%

CH4 – 10%

N2O – 5%

HFCs – 3%

Imagine yourself in a room in a house that was completely closed off.  Also imagine that the relative heat characteristics are quantified as candles.  Therefore, you would have 82% of 1 candle (0.82 candle) due to CO2; 3 candles due to methane (CH4 – 10% times 30); 15 candles due to N2O (5% times 300); and 690 candles due to HFCs (3% times 23,000).  This means that you would have about 709 candles in the room.  Do you think removing the less than one candle (CO2) would have an impact on the heat trapped in the room by the candles?  What about the 3 candles represented by methane?

The United States has phased out the use of hydrofluorcarbons due to agreements reached over three decades ago and yes, there is some persistence of them in the atmosphere.  They just don’t disappear overnight.  But the developing countries, the largest being China, were given a relaxed schedule to phase out HFCs.  According to Kiran Pandey at (in India) on May 23, 2019, China was emitting between 40% and 60% of the global emissions of CFC-11 (a.k.a., trichlorofluoromethane), one of the banned HFCs from the Montreal Protocol. 

Wow, and as of this writing there is an article from the India Times by Sarthak Dogra that the Earth's Ozone Layer is healing as China stops its CFC-11 Emissions

Is Joe Biden committing ourselves as a nation to economic doom with other progressive socialist leaders chasing the modern day Quixotic windmills of man-induced climate change?  American Thinker published an article on Feb. 21, 2021 titled, “The irony of Texas’s massive power outrages during winter weather,” by Andrea Widburg.  Andrea reports about the frozen wind turbines in west Texas that have caused power outages throughout the state.  Friends in Houston and Dallas shared photos with us about rare snowfall there this past weekend.  Our friends in Athens, Greece have also shared photos of recent snowfall there, too.

Climate change was the evolution of human-induced global warming vis-à-vis emissions from burning fossil fuels.  I do not think that I am the only “scientist” that believes that carbon dioxide’s slight rise in atmospheric concentration has extremely little to do with “climate change.”  The international bodies took their eye off the ball when they quit focusing on ozone. I think it is absurd that ignorant politicians with zero grounding in science let alone critical thinking, gamble our future on the replacement of the responsible combustion of abundant fossil fuels with so called “green energy.”  Protect the ozone layer, of course.

Image credit: A Loose Necktie, via Wikipedia // CC BY-SA 4.0