Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ozone hole, a dying ally in fight against AGW

The New York Times, The Scotsman, and Science Daily write about a new paper that essentially argues that the ozone hole - which has been healing for many years - was a good thing because it slowed the global warming on the Southern Hemisphere.

The ozone hole helped to create or sustain some reflective clouds and/or related feedbacks. So all of us should not only become vegetarians but we should also get skin cancer. A new conference in Montimaginary will think about ways to mass-produce freons, to undo the sins of Montreal.

What do I really think? The paper is likely to be just an assorted collection of ad hoc ideas focused on one phenomenon - one can find lots of similar phenomena and their mutual relationships. I don't believe that one is likely to get closer to the truth just by finding one possible effect and by removing it from the context.

Concerning the policies, of course that the increased ultraviolet radiation was much more serious a threat than a degree of warming or cooling, and it was marginally sensible to ban certain compounds that could have caused the growth of the ozone hole: they were not irreplaceable and only occurred in a small portion of the industry. I am still not certain whether or not the freons actually mattered but it's very conceivable and the costs of stopping the growth of the ozone hole were sensible.

The cost-benefits analysis leads to very different results in the case of CO2. The costs of the regulation are gargantuan while the benefits are negligible - and probably negative, anyway. Something had to get out of control in the most recent two decades. If you care, your humble correspondent would support things such as the regulation of freons and other environmental activities (although I have always been annoyed by the far-left flavor of the environmental movement).

But the postmodern, one-dimensional AGW movement has really nothing to do with the protection of Nature and our health as we used to know it.