Today is an environmental landmark – on January 23, 1972 Sweden became the first country to ban aerosol sprays. Reacting to scientific concerns chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) damaged the ozone layer, Sweden’s swift action set the stage for a world-wide ban.
Visionary Swedes abolished CFCs before science discovered the Antarctic ozone hole – ponder decisive environmental action based solely on reputable concern. Spared decades of irreparable damage at the hands of anti-ozone propaganda machines – Sweden stepped up in the interest of us all. America followed in October of 1978. On January 1, 1989 the Montreal Protocol took effect. Officially the “Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer” – a global treaty signed by almost every nation, effectively abolished use of CFCs.
Did it work? The answer is a cautious slowly but surely. Since the mid 90s, Antarctic ozone holes have “stabilized” – that in itself an environmental victory. Optimistic science predicts recovery by 2050-2070.
This is where I get worked up – switching from CFCs to other propellents or pump action dispensers might have been mildly inconvenient, yet hardly broke the bank or put vast numbers of corporate interests in financial jeopardy. The world played nice, behaving responsibly because alternatives didn’t bankrupt the bottom line. We took science at its word – our ozone was in danger, anything less than responsible action became out of the question.
Harmful carbon dioxide levels are an entirely different matter. Look no further than the failed Kyoto Accord – a global treaty to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, systematically dropped by worst offending powerhouse nations. China and the U.S. – awarded dubious distinction of first and second worst offenders, with 27% and 14% of global greenhouse gas production, can’t even be bothered to go through the motions. Neither country participates in 2001 talks to adopt the protocol. A statement released by America’s Environmental Protection Agency states, “the Bush administration has no interest in implementing the Kyoto Protocol”.
Protecting ozone passed with nary a whimper – everyone’s on board when environmental salvation doesn’t rattle big business, irrefutable science was good enough for ozone. Dare apply logic to greenhouse gas and climate change – suddenly science is ruled by nincompoops.
Ponder climate change denial – ask yourself who stands to lose, and who spends exorbitant amounts of money on denying the obvious.