Scientists baffled by unknown source of CFCs

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The uncertainty of science: Scientists have found that, despite their complete ban since 2007, one type of ozone-depleting CFCs are still being pumped into the atmosphere from some unknown source.

Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), which was once used in applications such as dry cleaning and as a fire-extinguishing agent, was regulated in 1987 under the Montreal Protocol along with other chlorofluorocarbons that destroy ozone and contribute to the ozone hole over Antarctica. Parties to the Montreal Protocol reported zero new CCl4 emissions between 2007-2012.

However, the new research shows worldwide emissions of CCl4 average 39 kilotons (about 43,000 U.S. tons) per year, approximately 30 percent of peak emissions prior to the international treaty going into effect. “We are not supposed to be seeing this at all,” said Qing Liang, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the study published online in the Aug. 18 issue of Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union. “It is now apparent there are either unidentified industrial leakages, large emissions from contaminated sites, or unknown CCl4 sources.”

That there seems to be an unknown source of CFCs suggests strongly that the entire theory of CFCs destroying the ozone layer is faulty. If CFCs were being produced naturally in the past then the ozone layer should not exist based on this theory. That it does exist says the CFCs are not harmful to it and were banned unnecessarily.


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  • Leonard McVicker

    Illegal production and use of banned CFC’s in Russia, China and third world countries is a known problem. In the US smuggling of CFC’s has resulted in prosecutions. The 39 kilotons are likely not from natural sources but man made for the black market.

  • DK Williams

    I suspect Red China, first and foremost. (And yes, I am intentionally politically incorrect.)

  • Chris Kirkendall

    That’s one problem with restrictive policies on the Environment when they only apply to certain countries (like the U.S.) but allow others to continue to pollute.

    This issue also points up how difficult it is to assign blame for so-called “Climate Change” or the “Ozone Hole” to man-made activities for 2 reasons: 1) the Earth & its oceans & atmosphere is such a huge system, Man may not really have a significant effect, and 2) we just don’t have a thorough enough understanding of all the factors that affect these things, and all the numerical data, calculations & predictions we try to apply just may simply be inadequate to enable us to understand what’s really going on. The systems are just too complicated.

    The best we can do is to apply TRUE scientific principles (gather data, formulate theories, test them, revise, repeat, etc.) and always keep an open mind to new possibilities or explanations. There’s no such thing as “Settled Science” – by its very definition, the “Science” we know will always be changing as new information & discoveries become known. It’s a serious mistake to let your own biases & preconceptions influence your data & predictions, which is what the Warmists & environmental alarmists consistently do, in complete contradiction of true Science…

  • Jet Jockey

    If I remember correctly DuPont’s R-12 refrigerant was suspected as a major cause of the “Hole in the Ozone Layer”. It just so happened that DuPonts patent on R-12 was due to expire in 1979. With the help of newly elected house representative Al Gore and DuPont itself, R-12 was banned from production. Coincidentally, DuPont had a new, patented, refrigerant waiting in the wings to take it’s place.

    I’m not a chemist. Nor do I play one on TV. If I’m not mistaken, CFC’s are heavier than air which would make it impossible for CFC’s to have any effect on the ozone layer. Again, I’m not a chemist!

  • Joe

    Don’t let the facts spoil a good lie!

  • Dano

    That’s why I vote to the Right.
    Rational observation. Go figure. Ockham’s Razor : keep it simple therory.

    William of Ockham, a Franciscan friar who studied logic in the 14th century, first made this principle well known.[1] In Latin it is sometimes called lex parsimoniae, or “the law of briefness”. William of Ockham supposedly (see below) wrote it in Latin as:

    Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.[1]
    More things should not be used than are necessary. This is a literal translation.
    This means that if there are several possible ways that something might have happened, the way that uses the fewest guesses is probably the right one. However, Occam’s razor only applies when the simple explanation and complex explanation both work equally well. If a more complex explanation does a better job than a simpler one, then you should use the complex one.

    Occam’s razor is a principle, not an actual razor: the word ‘razor’ is a metaphor. Occam’s razor gets rid of unnecessary explanations rather as a razor shaves off extra hair.[2]

  • Pzatchok

    Actually it took several tries and years to make a suitable replacement for R-12.

    If they had a replacement waiting on the shelves you would think that it would have worked.
    No, they had a second type of refrigerant patented but it didn’t work as well as R-12. So it stayed on the shelves until R-12 was banned.
    Just like other crappy products that don’t get sold until they are all thats left.

    It took several years for the parts manufacturers to make a good compressor that worked best with the new refrigerant.
    And it took many many years for the old parts to be scrapped or replaced.

    To this day some unscrupulous car restorers will take a quick trip to Mexico to pick up 20 and 50 pound bottles of R-12 to use in old systems because its about 10 times cheaper than replacing with a new system.
    And with just one bottle they could refill 10 cars or more. The chance of being caught is very low.
    Or one guy could get a bottle and keep his system running fine for the rest of his life.
    This happens a lot in California and Texas.

  • Jet Jockey

    Amazing! We have to resort to smuggling R12, light bulbs, toilets that work with one flush, etc.

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