Stratospheric ozone, global warming, and the principle of unintended consequences—An ongoing science and policy success story

Andersen, Stephen O.; Halberstadt, Marcel L.; Borgford-Parnell, Nathan
June 2013
Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association (Taylor & Fran;Jun2013, Vol. 63 Issue 6, p607
Academic Journal
In 1974, Mario Molina and F. Sherwood Rowland warned that chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) could destroy the stratospheric ozone layer that protects Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation. In the decade after, scientists documented the buildup and long lifetime of CFCs in the atmosphere; found the proof that CFCs chemically decomposed in the stratosphere and catalyzed the depletion of ozone; quantified the adverse effects; and motivated the public and policymakers to take action. In 1987, 24 nations plus the European Community signed the Montreal Protocol. Today, 25 years after the Montreal Protocol was agreed, every United Nations state is a party (universal ratification of 196 governments); all parties are in compliance with the stringent controls; 98% of almost 100 ozone-depleting chemicals have been phased out worldwide; and the stratospheric ozone layer is on its way to recovery by 2065. A growing coalition of nations supports using the Montreal Protocol to phase down hydrofluorocarbons, which are ozone safe but potent greenhouse gases. Without rigorous science and international consensus, emissions of CFCs and related ozone-depleting substances (ODSs) could have destroyed up to two-thirds of the ozone layer by 2065, increasing the risk of causing millions of cancer cases and the potential loss of half of global agricultural production. Furthermore, because most ODSs are also greenhouse gases, CFCs and related ODSs could have had the effect of the equivalent of 24–76 gigatons per year of carbon dioxide. This critical review describes the history of the science of stratospheric ozone depletion, summarizes the evolution of control measures and compliance under the Montreal Protocol and national legislation, presents a review of six separate transformations over the last 100 years in refrigeration and air conditioning (A/C) technology, and illustrates government–industry cooperation in continually improving the environmental performance of motor vehicle A/C.


Related Articles

  • Ozone. Poore, Patricia; O'Donnell, Bill // Garbage;Sep/Oct93, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p24 

    Examines the debate concerning the threat of ozone depletion. Arguments regarding whether or not the ozone hole existed before chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs); Ability of CFCs to migrate into the stratosphere; Overstating the effect of natural sources of chlorine; Absence of evidence on health...

  • How ozone-depletion increases global warming. Bunyard, Peter // Ecologist;Mar/Apr99, Vol. 29 Issue 2, p85 

    Reports on the increase in global warming resulting from the depletion of the earth's ozone layer. Size of the ozone hole; Extent of destruction caused by ozone depletion; Proportion of ultraviolet B (UV-B) penetrating the earth's lower stratosphere; Impact of UV-B on vegetation and human...

  • Is it getting worse under the sun? Spencer, Peter L. // Consumers' Research Magazine;Jul94, Vol. 77 Issue 7, p14 

    Focuses on the severity of the depletion of stratospheric ozone by chlorofluorocarbons and by natural factors. Thinning of earth's protective ozone layer in populated areas; Trends in radiation levels; Information on natural variations in ultraviolet intensities through a program by the...

  • Total CFC ban needed to halt global warming.  // New Scientist;9/8/90, Vol. 127 Issue 1733, p37 

    Reports on a study by University of Münster scientists on the reduction of global warming by the year 2050 if chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) are phased out completely. Control of the emission of some CFC under the Montreal Protocol; Scientist James Lovelock's suggestion in 1973 that the warming...

  • Dangers of ozone depletion. Godlee, Fiona // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);11/23/91, Vol. 303 Issue 6813, p1326 

    Examines the implications of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) for the depletion of the atmospheric ozone layer. Steady-state concentrations of ozone in the stratosphere; Catalytic phytochemical breakdown effect of CFC in the ozone layer; Health concerns over the depletion of the ozone layer.

  • If we can't convince each other, can we at least face tomorrow? W.J. // Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News;4/26/93, Vol. 188 Issue 17, p14 

    Editorial. Comments on the controversies over the true effects of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) on the ozone layer. Media attention on the subject; Responses of readers on the issue; Stand of Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News newspaper on the issue; Need for industry and end-users to...

  • Is the Montreal Protocol tending to become defunct?  // Chemical Business;Mar1996, Vol. 9 Issue 8, p5 

    Comments on problems associated with the implementation of the Montreal Protocol whose aim is to phase out production of ozone-depleting chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). CFC smuggling in rich countries; Increase in CFC production in developing nations; Difficulty in replacing CFCs...

  • CFC-free medication for an ailing ozone layer. Nordenberg, Tamar // FDA Consumer;May/Jun97, Vol. 31 Issue 4, p11 

    Focuses on the proposed rule of Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against the use of medical products containing chlorofluorocarbons (CFC). Reason why the FDA proposed the rule; Comments of some FDA executives about the proposed rule; Technique used by the FDA to be able to get the comments of...

  • Green gauge. Hutchings, Vicky // New Statesman & Society;3/25/94, Vol. 7 Issue 295, p40 

    Comments on an article in the March 11, 1994 issue of the magazine `Spectator' that disputes the depletion of the ozone layer. Reality of chlorofluorocarbons breaking down ozone particles; Reliability of measurements of increased ultraviolet radiation levels.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics