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Fighting global warming with pollution

  1. Oct 28, 2007 #1
    a thought occurred to me, it may be dangerous and completely idiot thats why i choose to run it past you folks.

    late last century we had the ozone hole scare, CFC gasses/compounds were removing our precious ozone and skin cancer were a danger wherever it traveled.

    but.. with the buildup of ozone gasses causing global warming now could that not be held in check by using CFC compounds to dillute the atmosphere and letting enough sunlight escape to keep global warming in check?

    it seems to me we have the tools to regulate our planets heat levels.
    CFC to cool.
    Carbon to heat...

    or is this way of base?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 29, 2007 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    I'm sorry, a lot of what you said in your post did not make sense to me.

    CFC's are not the primary problem, if you accept the anthropogenic version of current climate change.

    In 1991 CFC's were though to contribute at most 17% to warming.


    CO2 and methane hold onto heat, some sulfur-based compounds/particles reflect incoming sunlight. These are some of the really big players. CFC's are minor but powerful - at heating, not cooling.

    On the other hand if you dumped enough CFC's into the atmosphere to have a big effect (heating) you would make the problem worse, not better. And you would possibly sterilize all life off the terrestrial surface with UV rays in the process. One reason cited for the reason there was no Pre-Cambrian terrestrial life is that UV killed anything not in the water way back then. UV doesn't penetrate water very far. Our current protective ozone layer came to be "strong" enough to block to UV later on.
  4. Oct 30, 2007 #3


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    Ozone depletion is still a possibility. CFCs catalyse the decomposition of Ozone. The CFCs aren't used up in the reaction. Therefor most of the CFCs we have put in the atmosphere are still there.

    We have, of course, reduced the release of CFCs so hopefully the problem, if it existed in the first place, is under control.

    I think you mean 'with the buildup of greenhouse gasses'.

    No. Even if CFCs were harmless we couldn't produce enough to dilute the atmosphere by any appreciable amount. Furthermore, CFCs are also a greenhouse gas, albeit a minor one.

    Strangely enough there is one school of thought that particulates (ie. dust, smoke, salt crystals etc.) reflect enough sunlight to balance the warming caused by CO2 emissions. Meaning that the planet hasn't warmed as much as it should have based on the current CO2 levels. If this turns out to be true (and I'm not saying it is) then our cleanup efforts could actually cause the climate catastrophy we're trying to avoid.

    In reality this just says to me that we don't yet know enough about the Earths atmospheric heat balance to be playing around with it. I'd say cautiously reduce pollution in all its forms without ridiculous expense.
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