Friday, February 23, 2024

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Without the CFC Ban Climate Change Would Be Far Worse

In 1987, the Monreal Protocol was signed. It is a multilateral environmental agreement that regulates ozone-depleting substances. Most notably, this agreement resulted in a worldwide Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFC, ban.

New research has been conducted to see how much of an impact this has had on the global temperature. According to the report, without the CFC ban in place, an additional 115–235 ppm of atmospheric carbon dioxide would be in our atmosphere.

This would result in a temperature rise of 2.5°C by the end of this century on top of what we already were expecting.

What Are CFCs?

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) are types of ozone-depleting substances. In the past, they could be found in refrigerants and aerosol propellants, but have since been phased out.

As a result, the hole in the ozone layer has begun to recover as a result of the ban.

While the ozone layer was the main focus, it has indirectly helped efforts to limit global warming. And quite significantly, according to the report. Not only did this limit carbon from entering the atmosphere by 40-50%, but it also protected plants.

If the ozone hole had continued to expand, plants would have suffered. Higher UV ratings would have stunted plant development, which would also limit their ability to absorb carbon.

Thus, not only would it increase carbon emissions, but it would also limit natural carbon absorption.

Why Was the World Willing to Act in 1987?

One of the biggest criticisms of the climate crisis is that the world has been slow or reluctant to take serious action against climate change. However, the 1987 Montreal Protocol is a clear example of the world listening to scientific data and acting on it.

So what’s different today?

To put it simply, the CFCs were produced by only a small number of sources like aerosol cans or refrigerants. Whereas climate change is the result of all greenhouse gases.

The scope of change the world would have to undergo is completely different in comparison to a CFC ban.

And for modern economies, the billions, if not trillions of dollars it would cost to make the necessary changes is not realistic, even if they are necessary.

The biggest hurdle is phasing out fossil fuels. It’s no exaggeration to say that the world has relied on oil for over a century. In fact, many economies around the world rely on oil as the main source of income.

Phasing them out is not an option for those economies or at least one they will try to avoid. Whereas, phasing out CFCs was not that big of a deal except to a few industries.

Should We Make A New Deal?

The Paris agreement was created with the intention of bringing together the nations of the world to fight climate change. And while it has had some success, we have already reached a point where the goal to limit warming to 1.5C is impossible.

Thus, many might look at it as a failure. This raises the question, do we need a new one?

Perhaps we do not need a new deal completely, but we need one major change: enforceability. The Montreal Protocol was legally binding. The Paris Agreement is not. Instead, it is voluntary.

Or to say it another way, members can make promises and not follow through on them.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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