Essay on Ozone Depletion and the Environment

Essay on Ozone Depletion and the Environment

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Ozone Depletion and the Environment

 
   There is overwhelming scientific evidence that man-made chemicals are destroying the ozone layer -- Nobel prizes have already been awarded for the research. Rush Limbaugh argues that humans are safe, because volcanic chlorine has been working on the ozone layer longer than man-made chlorine, and yet we're still here. But this argument is false. Volcanic chlorine is water soluble, and rained harmlessly out of the atmosphere. Human CFCs are insoluble, and can therefore rise to the ozone layer where they can do their damage.

 

 

Do man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) destroy the ozone layer? There are no longer any skeptics left at NASA, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, or the World Meteorological Organization. In fact, the three scientists who first sounded the alarm in the early 80s -- F. Sherwood Rowland, Paul Crutzen and Mario Molina -- received the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for their work.

 

In 1991, NASA launched the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite (UARS) in an attempt to determine once and for all if humans were responsible for causing this serious damage to the atmosphere. The data relayed back to NASA clinched the matter beyond all reasonable doubt. "There is a very clear link between man-made chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and destruction of the ozone layer," says Dr. Aidan Roche, the Lockheed scientist whose team analyzed the satellite data for years. (1)

 

In one paragraph, the process works this way. The ozone layer is a thin, protective layer of the stratosphere, which rises 12 to 15 miles high. It shields the earth from the sun's ultraviolet rays, which are deadly to most life forms. Unfortun...


... middle of paper ...


... 23, 1993, Press Release, Lockheed Palo Alto Research Laboratories.

 

2. Ibid. See also description in Lester R. Brown et al. (eds.) Vital Signs 1994 (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1994), p. 64; also Steven Rendell, Jim Naureckas and Jeff Cohen, The Way Things Aren't: Rush Limbaugh's Reign of Error, (New York: The New Press, 1995), p. 12.

 

3. Richard Benedick, Ozone Diplomacy (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press), 1991.

 

4. Rush Limbaugh, The Way Things Ought to Be, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1993), pp. 155-6.

 

5. The following section on Mount Pinatubo is based on The Way Things Aren't, pp. 12-13.

 

6. Quoted in The Way Things Aren't, p. 14-15.

 

7. Robert Jackson, "Ozone Hole: NASA Puts It Squarely on Us; Satellite Data Cites Synthetic Chlorine," San Jose Mercury News, December 20, 1994, p. 9A.

 

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