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Earth Science

Signs of Ozone Layer Recovery Detected 363

polar red writes "22 years of banning CFCs is starting to pay off. Researchers have finally been able to measure a reduction in size of the ozone layer hole, after finding the source of its fluctuations. 'Salby's results reveal a fast decline in ozone levels until the late 1990s, then a slow rebound that closely matches what theoretical calculations had predicted, says David Karoly, a climate scientist at the University of Melbourne, Australia. "It is the sort of result that was expected, but is the first to provide detection of an increase in Antarctic ozone levels," he says.'"
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Signs of Ozone Layer Recovery Detected

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  • by Drake42 ( 4074 ) * on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:35PM (#36196102) Homepage

    Why is it that the scientists can detect an ozone hole, provide a fix, show that the fix solved the problem, and then be LOUDLY IGNORED by the liars in congress.

    Oh. The CFL manufacturers had less money than the oil people. Sorry. I forgot...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:38PM (#36196134)
    But the only solution they have for global warming is world government and regulating wealthy nations. This raises the cost of living and such which has indirect effects to global warming too, so it doesn't seem like a good situation. Poverty is a huge cause of environmental problems, and the more you raise the cost of living, the more people go into poverty. Also, a major point: Which would you rather have: A bigger and world government doing its governmental best to regulate something as nebulous as global warming, or our regular old crappy governments with less power doing nothing. I know a lot of people hate giving the government extra power as abuse of this power is the rule not the exception.
  • by mr1911 ( 1942298 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:39PM (#36196150)
    It is that boring old argument about correlation != causality.

    I'm not arguing that reducing CFCs and other emissions is a bad thing, but when emotions and political leanings enter the argument it is far to often to emerge wrong, not matter how right one may be.
  • by Mindcontrolled ( 1388007 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @05:48PM (#36196240)
    You know, when there is a physical mechanism connecting two phenomena AND a correlation between them, that correlation != causation thing is simply, well, bullshit.
  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:10PM (#36196460)
    It's because most of the evidence supporting global warming thus far is comprised of correlation studies. As I like to say, a good correlation paper can win you a high school science fair. A good causation paper can win you the Nobel prize. Which is precisely what happened with ozone depletion []. A trio of scientists came up with an elegant, predictive, and empirically accurate mechanism to explain exactly how ozone depletion was occurring, and won the Nobel prize in Chemistry for it.

    Come up with a comprehensive, predictive, and empirically accurate model for climate change, and you will probably win the Nobel prize (in something like physics, not a trophy prize like peace) and simultaneously convince the world's government that they must act. The problem with correlation studies is that they're always open to dispute since you never identify or test the actual mechanism causing the problem. That's what happened with cigarettes - for decades the medical community had tons of correlation studies saying that smoking was bad. But the government restrictions and bans didn't come about until medical researchers began to identify and confirm the mechanisms by which smoking was causing cancer.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:35PM (#36196724)

    The GP is perfectly correct.

    You might want to read the peer reviewed literature on how ozone "holes" fluctuate with solar activity and not human made CFCs as well. Yes, they exist.

    Hugged a tree lately?

  • Numbers please! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mangu ( 126918 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @06:47PM (#36196854)

    Global warming is caused by the emission of gases, mostly CO2, but also CFC replacements that are 1000s of times more potent than CO2.

    Fixed that for ya. Apparently Nature doesn't provide free lunches :(

    No, you fixed nothing, you just failed to take into account numbers.

    CO2 isn't harmful just because it's a global warming gas. It's so harmful because it's emitted in several orders of magnitude more than other gases.

    Another gas may be 1000 times more potent, but if only a billionth as much as CO2 is being emitted, then so what?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:02PM (#36197018)

    Nobel prizes are just propaganda prizes any more. They are given out like prizes in a box of Cracker Jack. What did Jimmy Carter, or Barak Obama really do to earn one? The next prize in medicine is probably about retrophrenology.

  • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:42PM (#36197404)

    If you send the nation into poverty to clean the air

    I think this is the aspect of the debate that annoys me the most - the hyberbolic exaggeration of the economic effects of reduced consumption of fossil fuels. There are of course real costs involved, but nothing that scientists or mainstream policy-makers have proposed is going to cause us to sink to Third World levels of deprivation, or revert to a pre-industrial economy. Citizens of Western Europe have been living with drastically higher gasoline prices than us for decades, and they don't seem impoverished to me. Downgrading to a smaller and more fuel-efficient car is not a huge decrease in living standards relative to what the rest of the world has to endure.

  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:46PM (#36197448)

    If you send the nation into poverty to clean the air, people who are starving aren't going to thank you

    It is pure idiotic FUD to suggest that false dichotomy: that the only two options are 1. unrestricted global climate change or 2. economic armageddon and killing grandparents in florida.

    Only crazy drugged-out hippies would suggest shutting down all coal plants immediately. The smart thing to do would be to set gradual caps, adjust subsidies gradually, have reasonable, balanced goals. Maybe say "no NEW coal plants." The only way that produces economic ruin is if you're a coal company and refuse to diversify.

  • by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @07:46PM (#36197450) Homepage Journal

    There is no claim that "any level of carbon in the air is too high". You made that up.

    Practically no one is saying to give up transportation or electricity. You made that up, too. Some people say we should reduce wasteful transportation and electricity consumption, make its provision more efficient.

    No one is sending the nation into poverty to clean the air. You made that up, too. The opposite is true: people are trying to save the nation from the poverty that Greenhouse pollution is creating, by investing in the clearly highly profitable improvements and replacements for our Greenhouse pollution ways.

    No one's sneering at "money". You made that up, too. There wasn't even a sneer in there, except the one you made up. Reducing carbon emissions 10 years ago, more gradually and cheaper, doing less damage than we're facing now, would have embraced money. Just not the money of the polluters. Who deserve more than a sneer - they deserve jailtime and deep fines.

    Nobody attacked your money. Unless you're profiting from Greenhouse denial or Greenhouse pollution. Which, from the pile of stuff you just made up, seems entirely likely. In which case, you deserve an attack you haven't yet gotten, as well as jailtime and deep fines.

  • by khallow ( 566160 ) on Friday May 20, 2011 @10:37PM (#36198624)

    when there is a physical mechanism connecting two phenomena AND a correlation between them

    Here's a simple game to try. Claim that someone has figured a relationship between two unrelated phenomena and ask an audience to guess what the connection is. Your audience will come up with numerous "physical mechanisms" for explaining the correlation they think might exist. Sure, having a physical mechanism (that is, a model for interaction in other words) and a correlation is better than a raw correlation, but it's a far cry from actual causation.

  • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Saturday May 21, 2011 @02:29AM (#36199900)

    But you're responding with the equally hyperbolic fallacy of assuming that the sum total of fossil fuel consumption and carbon output is people driving cars, and that just getting SUVs off the road would fix everything.

    I was cherry-picking an example; it wasn't intended to suggest a simple remedy. There are many more equally egregious wastes of energy in first-world countries; massive floodlights illuminating empty athletic fields at night are my favorite. Some of the culprits are seemingly trivial: I live in a relatively temperate climate (Northern California) where it almost never freezes, and a properly insulated residence needs minimal heating during winter. But I've ended up in several apartments or houses that were so poorly insulated that I had to choose between doubling my gas bill, or eating breakfast at 10 C. Gas is cheap, of course; insulating or rebuilding costs much more. But it isn't going to send us back to the Bronze Age; I just might have to wait another year to buy the Macbook Air. Heavily air-conditioned big-box stores are another example of extravagant waste and luxury - not that I have any moral objection to big-box stores or vapid consumerism (I also partake from time to time), but from the perspective of energy efficiency, we might as well just set gasoline on fire for fun. (Actually, we already do that: it's called NASCAR.)

    More generally, we could make much better use of renewable and/or carbon-neutral energy sources (and I do include nuclear* in this category). Yes, most of these are more expensive, but none so much that we're going to suddenly find ourselves burning garbage to stay warm. The targets proposed for carbon emissions are exceedingly modest, and more than affordable for a country with huge amounts of surplus wealth. (And I don't mean that in a tax-the-rich way: even as a grad student living on a research stipend in one of the most expensive areas in the nation, I was still able to afford a car, Internet service, plane flights home on Christmas, occasional gadgets, etc., without going into debt.) I like money too, the more of it the better, but frankly, I can afford to pay more for energy if necessary, and most of the rest of the country can as well. Unless you have an absurd sense of entitlement, this is not an apocalyptic scenario.

    I don't know what to suggest for the rapidly industrializing nations; it's much easier for us to adapt. However, it seems like the argument that "China won't cut back, so why should we?" is gaining increasing popularity. I don't think we should be using the Chinese government as a moral example for anything, let alone energy policy.

    (* including fusion, if it ever works. It's appalling that we're spending a total of more than $300 billion on the F-35 when the industrial superpowers combined can barely get their act together to build ITER for less than €20 billion.)

"Call immediately. Time is running out. We both need to do something monstrous before we die." -- Message from Ralph Steadman to Hunter Thompson