Year 3, Month 8, Day 8: But The Fossil Fuel Companies Are Always Right In The Beginning!

More on ozone layer destruction, this time from the Christian Science Monitor:

Global warming could open new holes in Earth’s ozone layer at latitudes that until now have seemed immune to the ozone destruction that recurs over Antarctica and the Arctic, a new study warns.

The underappreciated keys to this conundrum: water vapor and temperatures in the lower stratosphere, where the ozone layer appears. Both, the researchers say, reach summertime values over the continental US known to encourage ozone-destroying chemicals that are already aloft to attack ozone.

The team makes no attempt to project when significant erosion might be expected to occur. And researchers have yet to make the measurements that would confirm that the reactions the study describes are occurring. Rather, it points to conditions that are appearing and are known to stimulate stratospheric ozone destruction.

The hippies were right then, and they’re right now. Sent July 28:

Any American over a certain age remembers the discovery some decades ago that flourocarbon emissions were destroying the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere. At the time, outraged columnists claimed that changing our spray-can habits was an assault on our traditional values; those who sensibly pointed out the benefits of a life without skin cancer were mocked and derided. Eventually, we changed our spray-can habits (without harming traditional values), and since then, fortunately, that scary hole in the stratosphere has been shrinking.

While we already knew that greenhouse emissions are triggering runaway climate change, the news that water vapor from severe thunderstorms poses a renewed threat to the ozone layer is unpleasantly nostalgic. Transforming our entire culture’s energy economy won’t be easy; it’ll be much harder to give up fossil fuels than it was to shift away from CFCs, but there’s no longer any time to waste. Let’s get started.

Warren Senders