Sunday, July 19, 2009

Ozone Holes and Global What?

About a week or so somebody released study findings that the new kind if air conditioning gas was horribly warming the planet. The majors such as the Washington Post finally stumbled on it, maybe on some RSS feed. Link here.

Back a decade or two we outlawed conventional Freon, a has used for all kinds of air conditioning like your house and car - and many more uses such as making foam plastic to being the propellant in asthma medicine. That Freon was eating a hole in the ozone layer. Remember the ozone hole?

The replacement has an ominous name, HCFC, whch was patented by the same company who made Freon (hint, hint), the ozone hole nearly went away, and all was a remarkable success. However, it turns out the HCFC or whatever its called is between 1000 and 4000 times more potent than carbon dioxide as far as potential global warming. It could end up cooking us to death.

How fitting. I'll read the paper but I guess that these new-fangled air conditioning chemicals can last for 1 to 5 decades in the air for extra-lasting effect. Supposedly it's not Earth-shattering news, but isn't it amazing how we solve one problem and then another turns up as a result?


Mike said...

Sammie, I'm sure Al Gore will have the answer...Listen closely!

Bryan said...

I saw the WP article, too, but I'm missing the connection. Or, rather,the article is missing the connection. HFCs have significantly more global warming potential compared to CO2. OK. So did CFCs. Unless HFCs have an even higher GWP than CFCs, it looks like a wash to me. I looked at the IPCC sources and didn't see a big difference. Maybe I'm missing something?

Sam said...

Hmm, you have a point there, been a long time since I fooled with A/C juice and global warming potential. Some say that propane and ammonia can be used as a replacements, but that's pretty dangerous IMHO. Didn't know this, but ammonia can catch of fire! Burned down a few ice making and ice cream warehouses, it turns out.