Effect of Environmentalists Crying Wolf Over Ozone Thinning Appear
Adoption of environmentalism for political and religious agenda falsely identifies good and evil. Worst is the claim that humans are evil and don’t belong on the planet. Anti-humanity is a fundamental theme typified by the Club of Rome’s 1974 comment that “The Earth has cancer and the cancer is man.” The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says we must act even with inadequate evidence. Societies acted on insufficient and incorrect evidence about ozone; now negative side effects appear and children, who they claim to protect, are affected. The ozone issue was a test run for the false evidence produced to demonize humans and their CO2. Some of the people involved in the ozone ‘science’ were central to the CO2 issue.
Proponents of human caused global warming (AGW) pointed to the Montreal Protocol, designed to eliminate Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and protect the ozone layer, as proof that the Kyoto Protocol would work. The entire story is a lesson in what not to do.
The Ozone Layer
Ozone is created in the upper atmosphere when ultraviolet (UV) radiation, a small part of the total electromagnetic energy from the sun, strikes free oxygen molecules (O2). The molecules are split into single oxygen molecules (O), which combine with other O2 to create ozone (O3).
Formation of ozone occurs between 15 and 55 km above the surface with maximum concentration between 15 and 30 km. Densities vary horizontally and vertically, so levels over any region changes hourly with air movement in the upper atmosphere. The Ozone Layer is self-healing, because as UV penetrates further into the atmosphere, it encounters more free oxygen.
The angle at which solar rays strike the atmosphere decreases from 90° at the equator to 0° at the poles, so the amount of ultraviolet radiation striking the surface decreases dramatically. As Professor Fred Singer explained in his Congressional testimony (September 20, 1995),
A projected 10 percent UV increase from a worst-case global ozone depletion is the equivalent of moving just 60 miles closer to the equator… New Yorkers moving to Florida experience a more than 200 percent increase in UV because of the change of latitude.
Increased lifespan explains the increase in skin cancer, not ozone thinning.
The problem began with a hypothesis. Molina and Rowland theorized CFCs went to the stratosphere and destroyed ozone. Their laboratory studies showed CFCs destroyed ozone in the presence of high frequency UV. They didn’t, and couldn’t, simulate atmospheric conditions in the Ozone Layer. Now ideology took over; determined to prove, rather than disprove as proper science requires. The imperative was to ban CFCs, not to test the theory. Like the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis, the consensus was determined and contradictory or conflicting research ignored.
Central to the CFC hypothesis is the assumption that UV levels are constant. This meant measured variations in ozone were caused by something else. Environmentalism demanded a human cause and Molina and Rowland provided the answer. We now know UV varies considerably, more than enough to explain the variations.
CFCs are four times denser than air, so there was a transport question – how did they get to 15 km above the surface? The answer is they didn’t. The active portion, that is the part that destroys ozone, is the first ‘C’ – or chlorine. It is part of a growing family of Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). In a laboratory, a chemical is placed in a chamber with ozone. If the ozone is destroyed, then the chemical is designated an ODS and banned.
Beneficial effects of UV were overlooked in the scramble to keep children out of the sun, physically or by chemical blockers. It produces vitamin D in the body, essential to prevent rickets and other bone problems, as well as scrofula, a form of tuberculosis. Reports from England say doctors are finding increasing levels of rickets. Chemical sun blockers are a huge industry and apparently profited from emphasizing the dangers of ultraviolet radiation (UV). However, there is a downside. Humans need UV to create vitamin D. Blockers reduce the UV absorbed, and unless used judiciously, the amount of vitamin D created.
Skin colour is a function of controlling the amount of UV the skin absorbs – too much exposure and the melanin levels increase to darken the skin and reduce absorption. This occurs on two levels: a rapid response with a sun tan (all groups tan), and a general skin colour depending on the climate zone in which a group has evolved.
As early as 1998, a Washington News Tribune editorial titled Ozone recovery offers a success to build on said the ozone layer was recovering because government policies banning CFCs, through the Montreal Protocol, were working. Recovery is because there was no problem in the first place. This pattern is repeated with many environmental doomsday scenarios. Almost all are due to natural variability, which is ignored – as is the requirement for evidence by invoking the Precautionary Principle. The CFC-ozone issue was a test for emotional, environment-driven global warming science.
The Montreal Protocol was based on the false science that a variation in atmospheric ozone was due to human-produced CFCs. We were told destruction of ozone would continue for 100 years. That and the hypothesis were wrong. Now children suffer from the understandable public reaction to the fears the false science created. Some of the damage of the false CO2 science is already evident.