Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Artur Marcelino Canumbila
Writing RRJ#1

According to the Stephen Leahy (2008) in his article “CLIMATE CHANGE: What Chemical lobby weakening ozone treaty”, He mentioned how ozone layer has been affected by chemical pollutants and its effects to the planet earth. The Antarctic ozone hole, observed and measured by U.S National and Space Administration (NASA), is about 27 million square kilometers. Up to one million people are affected by skin cancer every year and up to 10,000 people will die in the U.S.A. The agreement signed as the Montreal Protocol, by about 24 Countries, 20 years ago, lead by Argentina, U.S and Canada, avoided damage of the ozone layer and kept away tens of billions of tons carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Nevertheless, they found that ozone-destroying chemicals were mainly greenhouse gases, so the global warming increased more than carbon dioxide in each molecule. “Without the protocol, the ozone layer would be 30 in Washington, instead of today’s of 10” “ A less than three-minute exposure to the sun in Hawaii would have resulted in sunburn. The skin cancers would be at least 650 percent higher” said Paul A. Newman, an atmospheric physicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, and co-chair of the Montreal Protocol’s Scientific Assessment Panel. However, the ozone layer is thin, and the emissions of ozone-damaging chemicals have been decreasing since 11 years ago approximately due to substitution of HCFCs and HFCs refrigerants known as hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons. HCFC’s damage ozone is five percent of the rate of CFCs, and HFC doesn’t damage. Both HCFCs and HFC are strong greenhouse gases. Furthermore, there are other options for refrigerants that can protect the ozone layer, for example, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons. The use of hydrocarbons such as iso-butane, propane in machinery such as refrigerators (green freeze) are perfect refrigerants for ozone, but the U.S. has not used them due to special interests of producers. On the contrary, during the economic crisis the governments will find it difficult to process activities in climate change due to commercial interests. Finally, at the end of 2009 almost 200 countries will discuss solutions for air pollution, deforestation, biodiversity problems and other dangers to the environment, in order to provide health, social, and economic advantages.

I totally agree that humans have been contributing to degrading the environment and have caused damage to the ozone layer and changed global temperature. The consequences of damages caused to the ozone layers has brought problems for human, animals and plants. Some people believe that the use of refrigerants can be another global pollution problem for ozone-damaging chemicals. However, the practical solution for making a safe environment is to create alternative sources of energies instead of a protocol agreement, application of refrigerants that are a not CFCs and reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases.

I totally agree with creation of a protocol agreement among countries as a preventive action for ozone-damaging, reductions in production and consumption of harmful elements. The ozone-destroying has not only been the cause of many human skin problems but also has been the cause of the problems for plants, animals and other species due to the UV radiation. All the countries should join their environmental problems with other countries because the environmental problem is global and they are interconnected worldwide.

The governments should create policies for regulating commerce and manufacturing of refrigerators for producing green devices. New machines should require green combustibles. The refrigerants HCFC’s damage ozone at five percent the rate of CFC’s and HFC’s don’t. Both HCFC’s and HFC’s are strong greenhouse gases because these chemicals act as a layer in the atmosphere that traps heat like a greenhouse. This causes warmer temperatures; plants and animals species migrate North and South towards poles, there are several storms and droughts, and sea level rise. Alternative refrigerants are carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons (iso-butane, propane), for refrigerators (greenfreeze) and air conditioners. I don’t agree with the author that refrigerants could be harmful enough for making a new ozone-damaging chemical because this involves others sources threatened.

The situation of economic crisis definitely makes difficulty progressing activities from the governments for changing the climate. The economic crisis is also a global problem, and all the Nations should work together in order to get a solution. The only way to solve the problem is that investors have to develop new technologies in cars, industries, devices and natural resources for making a friendly environment. Finally, the best solution for saving the environment is to create and develop alternative sources of energies such as biomass, natural gas, wind energy, hydroelectric power, solar energy, hydrogen and nuclear power.
Reference: Leahy, Stephen (2008). Climate Change: Chemical lobby weakening ozone treaty. Retrieved May 19, 2009 from