February 28, 2007
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A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999
FROM VOLUME 4, NUMBER 12, DECEMBER 1991
OZONE PANEL REPORT
An international panel of 80 scientists,
coordinated by the U.N. Environment Programme and the World Meteorological
Organization, has for the first time found evidence of ozone layer destruction
in all four seasons in both hemispheres. Especially serious is the newly
detected summer ozone decrease, which greatly increases exposure of humans and
crops to ultraviolet radiation. Ozone losses over the past decade are estimated
at over three percent at the latitude of New York, and five percent at the
latitudes of Buenos Aires and Sydney.
The study also revealed surprisingly large ozone depletion in the lower
stratosphere, which tends to cool the atmosphere and largely compensates the
greenhouse warming by CFCs. This result puts the recent U.S. global warming
policy on a shaky foundation. The United States has argued that its greenhouse
gas emissions would decrease without controlling carbon dioxide emissions, as
CFC emissions were reduced through the Montreal Protocol. The panel results
suggest that reducing CFCs may not affect global warming much after all.
The results of the report, together with recent news that the Antarctic
ozone hole has reached record intensity (Sci. News, pp. 244-245, Oct.
19, 1991), will be major factors when the parties to the Montreal Protocol
consider further revisions in the fall of 1992. Immediately after the report was
released, Du Pont, the world's largest manufacturer of CFCs, announced it would
cease their production by 1996 and that of halons by the end of 1994. A
representative of the Alliance for Responsible CFC Policy, a U.S. industry
group, predicted a general CFC phase-out by 1997. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency is also considering moving up its deadline for CFC phase-out,
currently the year 2000 corresponding to the revised Montreal Protocol, possibly
to 1997. Environmental groups want a faster response; Friends of the Earth, the
Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Environmental Defense Fund petitioned
the EPA for a complete halt in CFC production by 1995. In November 1991, 24 U.S.
Senators wrote to President Bush urging him to accelerate the phase-out of
Scientific Assessment of Stratospheric Ozone, 1991 will be published
by the World Meteor. Org. in 1992 (POB 5, CH-1211 Geneva 20, Switz.). See Chem.
Eng. News, p. 4, Oct. 28, 1991; Sci. News, p. 278, Nov. 2; Global
Environ. Change Rep., pp. 1-3, Nov. 1, and p. 3, Dec. 6; Intl. Environ.
Rptr., pp. 590-591, Nov. 6; Environ. Rptr. Curr. Devel., pp.
1938-1940, Dec. 6; Nature, p. 783, Oct. 31, and p. 688, Oct. 24; Science,
p. 645, Nov. 1.
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