Ozone and CFC's (repost of an article I posted a couple of months ago) The following excer

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Ozone and CFC's --------------- (repost of an article I posted a couple of months ago) The following excerpts come from an article in the 24 May issue of _Chemical and Engineering News_, the regular magazine of the American Chemical Society. The main text of the article, by C&E editor Pamela Zurer, is a nice summary (about 10 pages) of the present status of ozone depletion research; the excerpts come from a sidebar. Articles in C&E News are not Ex Cathedra pronouncements from the ACS, but they generally represent the consensus of expert opinion in the field - they have roughly the same status as articles in the front pages of _Science_ or _Nature_. Begin quoted text: ---------------------------------------------- _Researchers Aghast at Misconceptions about CFC's, Ozone Depletion_ According to some skeptics, whose voices have lately been growing louder, ozone depletion is not a serious environmental problem but a scientific fraud. To the working atmospheric science community, such ignorance of 20 years of intense research, coupled with the constant repetition of misrepresentations and half-truths, is frustrating and insulting. Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh is one of the more prominent individuals responsible for propagating the idea that concern over ozone depletion is much ado about nothing. On the air and in his best-selling book, 'The Way Things Ought to Be", he says 'environmentalist wackos' unhappy with the American way of life are behind the effort to ban chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's)... Limbaugh often cites Dixy Lee Ray, the former governor of Washington State who once headed the Atomic Energy Commission. Ray's latest book, 'Environmental Overkill', devotes two error-ridden chapters to ozone depletion. She says only small amounts of CFC's could enter the stratosphere because they are heavier than air. The Antarctic ozone hole was first observed in the 1950's, she claims, so could not be caused by CFCs, whose emissions were quite small at that time. Ray, in turn, cites a book called 'Holes in the Ozone Scare: The Scientific Evidence that the Sky isn't Falling', by Rogelio A. Maduro and Ralf Schauerhammer. Maduro - who previously published magazine articles arguing the same points - is an associate editor of _21st Century Science and Technology_ magazine, which often is linked with jailed political activist Lyndon LaRouche. LaRouche has no formal connection with the magazine, according to staff there, although it has published some of his articles and he served on the board of directors of the foundation that published its predecessor, _Fusion_... These critics' supposedly scientific debunking of the current understanding of the ozone issue often relies on misreadings of old scientific literature. They ignore more recent research that leads to different conclusions than the ones they promote. To researchers who keep up in the field, critics' arguments appear so patently incorrect and out-of-date that it has hardly seemed worth taking the time to rebut them. That attitude among atmospheric scientists is changing, however, as such misinformation gains wider currency. NASA research scientist Richard S. Stolarski, for example, would like to see the community collaborate on a book. Carefully documented with scientific references, it would explain how scientists have drawn the conclusions they have about ozone. ----------------------------------------- End quoted text The sidebar goes on to refute three common myths: that CFC's cannot rise into the stratosphere because they are heavier than air, that natural sources such a seawater and volcanoes contribute more to stratospheric chlorine than CFC emissions, and that the ozone hole was first discovered in 1956. These myths are discussed in more detail in my FAQ, to be posted on sci.environment this weekend. Robert


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